Football crazy!

Footballs, where would the game be without them?  Well obviously we wouldn’t be able to call it football.  From the early days of players trudging around muddy pitches kicking a heavy leather ball made out of a pig’s bladder, to the modern footballs that zip around the pitch quicker than Usain Bolt, football technology has come a long way, and at Direct Soccer, we thought we would celebrate the most important invention in the game by sharing with you 10 of the most iconic footballs of the last 50 years.

Adidas Telstar – World Cup 1970

[caption id="attachment_383" align="alignleft" width="293"]4171467668_70dddcf7fa Adidas Telstar Mexico 1970 World Cup[/caption]

Everyone of a certain age will remember it vividly, while most football fans have probably seen it.  We’re talking about one of the best World Cup goals of all time, Carlos Alberto’s bullet from the edge of the box in the Mexico 1970 World Cup final for Brazil against Italy, completing a great team move.  This goal was scored with the Adidas Telstar, the first official World Cup ball, and the first to use 32 black and white panels – the ball was more visible on black and white televisions this way.

[caption id="attachment_380" align="alignright" width="300"]Adidas Tango Espana - 1982 World Cup Adidas Tango Espana - 1982 World Cup[/caption]                  

Adidas Tango Espana – World Cup 1982

A World Cup remembered for Paulo Rossi’s heroics for Italy, Toni Schumacher’s cynical downing of French player Patrick Battiston, Bryan Robson’s goal against France after just 27 seconds and of course, David Narey’s amazing strike against Brazil!  The ball used at this World Cup is an icon, the Adidas Tango!  Still sought after today in its more modern forms, the Tango Espana was the last genuine leather World Cup ball, and used rubber inlaid over the seams to prevent water retention.  The downside of this ball was due to its delicate construction, it had to be replaced during the games – not something you wanted when it cost an expensive £50 each!

Mitre Delta 1000

[caption id="attachment_386" align="alignleft" width="300"]Mitre Delta Balls Mitre Delta 1000[/caption]

Back in the days when shorts were short, Scottish strikers topped the English scoring charts and defenders got away with tackles that now would see them done for common assault, the Mitre Delta 1000 ruled the world!  A classic white and black design, it was used in all English and Scottish league matches, as well as international matches on the British Isles.  So iconic, it even had its own Subbuteo version!

[caption id="attachment_384" align="alignright" width="150"]Mitre Ultimax Premier League - 1999 Mitre Ultimax Premier League - 1999[/caption]          

Mitre Ultimax Premier League

Mitre still held the Premier League contract through the 90’s, and from 1995 until 2000, the ball of choice was the Ultimax.  A great looking design featuring greater than and lesser than delta signs on the white panel ball, the Ultimax was the top professional level football of its day, and was the ball used when David Beckham famously beat Neil Sullivan of Wimbledon from his own half in August 1996.  Other fans of the Ultimax were prolific scorers like Alan Shearer, Ian Wright, Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Fowler.

Adidas Tricolore – World Cup 1998

[caption id="attachment_381" align="alignleft" width="300"]1998-Ticolore--003 Adidas Tricolore - 1998 France World Cup[/caption]

To celebrate the World Cup taking place in France, Adidas introduced their first coloured World Cup ball in the colours of the French flag.  The Tricolore used underglass print technology with a thin layer of synthetic foam, and hit the net 171 times thanks to goals from the likes of Davor Suker, Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) and Michael Owen.

[caption id="attachment_385" align="alignright" width="150"]Geo Merlin - Nike's first Premier League Football Geo Merlin - Nike's first Premier League Football[/caption]

Nike Geo Merlin

In 2000 Nike took over the Premier League ball contract, and introduced the Geo Merlin.  Made from a durable synthetic rubber material, Nike claimed this was the fastest and most accurate football ever produced (at the time).  The Merlin was used until 2004 and was the football played with when Arsenal’s Invicibles won the Premier League without losing a single game.  (Maybe Arsene Wenger and Gunners fans should petition the league and Nike to bring it back?)


Adidas Finale Champions League

[caption id="attachment_388" align="alignleft" width="300"]UEFA Champions League season 2002-2003 adidas Finale original official match ball-ie-fs8 Adidas Champions League Finale[/caption]

Hampden Park, Glasgow, Wednesday 15th May 2002.  The Champions League final between German surprises Bayer Leverkusen, and 8 time winners, Spanish giants Real Madrid, back at the scene of their famous 1960 European Cup win.  It is almost half time, the score locked at 1-1, when Roberto Carlos is played down the left wing.  With the ball bouncing, he swings over a cross to the edge of the box, where it is met beautifully by French maestro Zinedine Zidane, who strikes a left-footed volley past the Leverkusen goalie to win the European Cup for Real Madrid for a 9th time.  The ball used - the Adidas Finale Champions League, a design used year after year now in the competition.

[caption id="attachment_382" align="alignright" width="150"]Adidas Teamgeist - World Cup Final 2006 Adidas Teamgeist - World Cup Final 2006[/caption]              

Adidas Teamgeist – World Cup 2006

Adidas were becoming more innovative with their football designs, and for the 2006 World Cup in Germany they introduced the Teamgeist.  This football had a reduced amount of panels which formed a smooth and perfectly round football that was to improve accuracy and control.  This football, made without stitches due to thermo bonding, was the first ball to be personalised with the date, venue and who the match was between.

Nike Maxim Premier League

[caption id="attachment_387" align="alignleft" width="300"]Nike_Maxim_FootBall_Premier_League_original Nike Maxim Premier League - 2012/13[/caption]

Year on year, Nike were improving their ball technology and in 2012 they introduced the Maxim.  This ball featured RaDaR technology, first introduced in the Nike Seitiro, and stood for Rapid Decisive and Response.  It allowed players better control and touch due to the 360degree sweet spot and the golf ball like dimple effect on the synthetic panels.  One of the most famous goals scored with the Maxim was Tim Howard’s 102 yard goal kick for Everton against Bolton Wanderers.

[caption id="attachment_379" align="alignright" width="150"]Brazuca - World Cup 2014 Brazuca - World Cup 2014[/caption]

Adidas Brazuca – 2014 World Cup

Used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Brazuca was adidas’ most tested football ever, tested for over 2 ½ years by numerous players and teams around the world.  Featuring a revolutionary 6 panel design, the Brazuca had a unique surface that provided improved grip, touch, stability and aerodynamics on the pitch.  Germany liked it, winning the tournament and knocking 7 past Brazil in the semi-final.  The Brazuca probably wasn’t a favourite of any of the England team though.


While none of these classic footballs are available for you to buy nowadays, you can still choose from a great selection of match, training, specialist and indoor footballs here at Direct Soccer and Express Football Kits.  Right now we have reduced the prices of all of our footballs where you can save at least 40% on the RRP so there are great deals on footballs like the Nike Team Catalyst, the Mitre Max v12 and ProMax V12S, Nebula Futsal and our own range of Direct Soccer Rapide Pro and Rapide Training balls.