This international weekend has given those travelling to Russia the opportunity to test out the ball being used in the World Cup – the Adidas Telstar 18 – and after its debut appearance, goalkeepers have given their verdict.
To mark the iconic Telstar’s 50th anniversary, Adidas unveiled a redesign of the original ball, which was first introduced for the 1968 European Championships in Italy, and last used in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.
Adidas last faced criticism in 2010 when the Jabulani ball was deemed too lightweight for the quadrennial tournament in South Africa, while the Adidas Brazuca – used in Brazil four years ago – went largely unquestioned.
So with the Telstar making its debut this weekend, how did some of Europe’s elite goalkeepers react?
David De Gea
Making his 26th appearance for the Spanish national side, Manchester United’s David De Dea started in goal as La Furia Roja drew 1-1 against Germany on Friday.
The 27-year-old shot-stopper conceded in the first half after Thomas Muller rifled a shot into the back of the net, prompting De Gea to question the new ball.
Speaking after the match, according to AS, De Gea said: “It’s really strange. It could have been made a lot better.”
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen started in the opposite end of the pitch to his goalkeeping counterpart David De Gea, as both sides battled out a 1-1 draw at the ESPRIT arena in Dusseldorf.
Having conceded with just six minutes on the clock courtesy of a goal from Valencia’s Rodrigo, ter Stegen – who made his 19th appearance for Germany – also gave a dissatisfied assessment of the Adidas Telstar 18.
“The ball could be better; it moves a lot,” he said after the match.
“But I think we’re just going to have to get used to working with it and try to get to grips with it as quickly as possible before the World Cup starts.”
Despite not featuring in the stalemate between Spain and Germany, Reina got a taste for the ball prior to the match in the warm-up, and he gave a brutal assessment of the new World Cup ball.
Reina is understandably playing second fiddle to compatriot De Gea in Julen Lopetegui’s team, but for Napoli the former Liverpool shot-stopper has been in formidable form, and he believes the ball is going cause his fellow goalkeepers nightmares this summer.
He said: “I bet you as much as you like that we’ll see at least 35 goals from long range in Russia, because it’s impossible to work out.
“It’s covered in a plastic film that makes it difficult to hold on to. Goalkeepers are going to have a lot of problems with this ball.”