The World Cup football through the ages, from the T Model to Telstar 18

Adidas has designed a new ball for the 2018 World Cup – and it’s a looker. However, a few players out in Russia might not be the biggest fans, not least Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. 

That’s because the boffins at Adidas designed the Telstar 18 to be resilient to excessive amounts of dip and swerve, which should make it harder for specialists like Ronaldo to reproduce the famous ‘knuckle-ball’ free-kicks he’s popularised over the years.

For the first time in a while, Adidas steered clear of marketing its latest World Cup ball as the “roundest ball ever”, instead claiming that it’s the most perfect equipment ever used in the game – the result of three year’s worth of hard graft.

Related: Best World Cup TVs

If the name Telstar sounds familiar, it’s because Adidas has released a World Cup ball under that moniker before. Used during the 1970 World Cup, it was the first to feature black and white panels, designed to stand out on black-and-white TVs.

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The Telstar 18 pays homage to the original Telstar, though there are a number of obvious cosmetic differences, the most notable of which is the introduction of six propellor-shaped panels to (apparently) result in a rounder surface finish.

Related: How to watch the World Cup in 4K HDR

Telstar is also the name of the world’s first communication satellite. That could be Adidas’ inspiration for baking an NFC chip into the consumer version of the ball, which is now available in brick-and-mortar stores.

Buy Now: Adidas Telstar 18 Match Ball for £129.95 at Adidas 

The World Cup ball has changed a lot over the years, starting off life as a rather cumbersome lump of leather, based on a truncated icosahedron. Modern balls, however, are much, much lighter and rounder, thanks to the introduction of new materials and shapes.

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Here’s a look at all of the balls used in the World Cup since its inception in 1930.

1930 World Cup Ball – T Model

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, left, holds the T Model | Image: Getty Images

1934 World Cup Ball – Federale 102

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1938 World Cup Ball – Allen

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1950 World Cup Ball – Superball Duplo T

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1954 World Cup Ball – Swiss World Champion 

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1958 World Cup Ball – Top Star

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1962 World Cup Ball – Crack Top Star

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1966 World Cup Ball – Slazenger Challenge 4-Star

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1970 World Cup Ball – Adidas Telstar

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1974 World Cup Ball – Adidas Telstar Durlast

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1978 World Cup Ball – Adidas Tango

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1982 World Cup Ball – Adidas Tango Espana

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1986 World Cup Ball – Adidas Azteca

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1990 World Cup Ball – Adidas Etruscan Unico

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1994 World Cup Ball – Adidas Questra

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1998 World Cup Ball – Adidas Tricolore

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2002 World Cup Ball – Adidas Fevernova

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2006 World Cup Ball – Adidas Teamgeist

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2010 World Cup Ball – Adidas Jabulani

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2014 World Cup Ball – Adidas Brazuca

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2018 World Cup Ball – Adidas Telstar 18

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It’s unclear if Adidas plans to produce a special edition model of the Telstar 18 for the World Cup Final.

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