UEFA has launched the Finale Istanbul 21 match ball that will be used in the 2021 Champions League knockout stages this season, marking the 20th anniversary of the iconic ‘star ball’ design.
The new ball will be used for all remaining Champions League games of the 2020/21 competition, starting with the last 16 ties that kick off this week and culminating with the 2021 final in Istanbul at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Saturday 29 May.
The ‘star ball’ design was first used in 2001 and is directly inspired by the unmistakable Champions League logo. It has become a symbol of the competition.
Finale Istanbul 21 incorporates 20 years’ worth of Champions League final designs, bringing together the past and the present. Subtle red banners on the panels detail each year and host city.
As well as looking the part, Finale Istanbul 21 is full of the latest high-performance ball technology. The thermally bonded hexagon panels, overlapping stars and textured coating offer control, aerobatic stability and a secure grip.
A seamless surface makes for an improved first touch and greater precision on the pitch, while it also incorporates sustainable glue.
The round of 16 begins on Tuesday 16 February and will conclude around a month later when all second leg games have been played on Wednesday 17 March. The quarter-finals will be played between 6 April and 14 April, with the semi-finals to follow between 27 April and 5 May.
Istanbul was the original host city of the 2020 Champions League final, only for the coronavirus pandemic to result in its postponement and relocation to a finals mini-tournament in Lisbon.
Each subsequent planned host has also been pushed back by a year, with the next few finals to be played in Saint Petersburg (2022), Munich (2023) and London (2024).
The Finale Istanbul 21 is available to order now via https://www.adidas.co.uk/football-balls