The adidas Starball has been synonymous with the UEFA Champions League since its introduction, with FC Bayern München's 2001 victory against Valencia CF in Milan the first final to be contested using one of the iconic balls.
Those early balls were hand-stitched, but technology has evolved season on season since then, with the 2004 Finale ball, launched ahead of the 2004 UEFA Champions League final in Gelsenkirchen, representing a major breakthrough; the 32-panel ball adopted the Roteiro construction and, in a break with tradition, used thermal bonding technology, rather than being hand-stitched.
Balls launched for UEFA Champions League finals were originally used in standard competition the following season - with the Starball being a different colour for most campaigns. However, a new tradition began in 2006 with the launch of the Finale Paris - the first ball that was designed specifically for the final, to be used exclusively by the eventual winners for the following season.
Thermal bonded, like all subsequent final balls, the Finale Paris represented a break with design tradition, pioneering a new 14-panel design making the ball rounder, smoother and thus easier to control than any previous ball.
The Finale 7, used for the Athens final of 2007, further honed these developments, with 2008's Finale 8 ball used in Moscow introducing the new PSC-Texture, with the dimpled surface further enhancing control. Innovation continued with the Finale Rome for the 2009 decider. Like previous final balls, it incorporated elements of the related to the final's branding and was marked with the location of the crucial game.
The launch of the Finale Madrid marked the ten-year anniversary of adidas as the official match ball supplier of the UEFA Champions League. It was therefore fitting that this ball introduced yet another chapter in the development of ball technology.
Under the motto "design becomes technology" adidas succeeded in adjusting the technology of the ball to a star-panel design, making the adidas Finale ball and UEFA Champions League logo inseparable and providing the truest possible ball flight.
The adidas Finale 10, the official ball for the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League, retains the materials and technology of the previous edition, with the iconic star panels decorated in classic UEFA Champions League colours.
As official supplier of the UEFA Champions League, adidas will continue to bring the best technological and design features to future balls, creating a new Starball for every season of the competition as well as a special ball for every final.
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