The best FIFA approved match balls, and their budget replicas, used by Europe’s top players.
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These days you don’t need to score a hat-trick to take home an official match ball as they are easily available to buy. At-home sports equipment is getting better and better and footballs are no exception.
The elite versions of these footballs have all been awarded the FIFA Quality Pro stamp of approval, which means they can be used in professional games. To get that FIFA approval they have to go through rigorous testing in a Swiss lab, meaning that only the best get the nod. So you really would see these exact footballs at the feet of Messi, De Bruyne and Griezmann.
However, if you don’t fancy splashing out, the official replicas are a great way of getting that match-ready experience without the price tag.
With that in mind, here are eight of the best official match balls used by Europe’s top leagues, clubs and competitions.
England – Premier League: Nike Flight
The Nike Flight football uses Aerowsculpt technology which took eight whole years to develop. Its hypothesis was that if a ball is completely smooth then it gets lost in the air and goes off course. The patented moulding on the surface of the ball actually changes the ball’s relationship with the air, improving aerodynamics by up to 30 per cent compared to a traditional football. The budget Nike Strike uses a similar groove technology called AerowTrac.
This season, the Championship, League One and Two are using this Puma teamFinal ball. This ball will be seen rolling around grounds up and down the country and will hopefully be responsible for some memorable goals and matches. Both the elite and replica versions use Puma Air Lock technology to keep your ball inflated for longer.
Uhlsport have created the Elysia Ballon match ball for Ligue 1 this season so two-thirds of the MSN trio can be reunited and score some incredible goals whilst in Paris. The elite version has 22 thermobonded panels and the replica has 32. Both versions are typically stylish in a navy blue with silver and orange colourway.
Get it from Pro:Direct Soccer for £84.00 (elite) / Decathlon for £29.99 (budget)
The Nike Flight was engineered for precision and created by four fused panels to create a larger perfect strikezone for Serie A’s top players like Andrea Belotti and Lorenzo Insigne. The Nike Strike Serie A edition is a great replica for those who feel an affinity with Italian football and want to show it off. The textured casing helps create a perfect spin on the ball whether you’re scoring at the San Siro or down the park.
The Puma Accelerate has a textured surface to improve grip and aerodynamics. La Liga’s best players like Antoine Griezmann are loving the orange flame design which was inspired by Japanese anime.
Puma’s signature ball for the Carabao Cup will be used the whole way through the competition, from the closely contested first round to the coveted final at Wembley Stadium. The durable rubber bladder is tried and tested so it retains its shape for a consistent ball flight.
Europe – UEFA Champions League Final: Adidas Pro
Recreate your favourite moments from the 2021 Champions League final with these beautiful balls. Both versions feature the aspirational star design pattern, but the elite version takes this one step further and has 3D printed stars all over to improve grip. The colourway will have your head in the sky dreaming of winning the trophy with cloud white and solar red and yellow stars.
Adidas’s iconic Uniforia was designed for the delayed Euro 2020 competition and was finally used this summer. Because this tournament was held across 12 culturally different cities the design had to incorporate elements from every place. The beautiful and colourful hashtag style design wraps around the ball which is seamlessly bonded to get a smooth trajectory and strike.