Creative Soccer Culture

adidas UCL Finale Ball Retrospect

As adidas reveal their 18th Champions League Final match ball, we've half-volleyed one down memory lane, rustled around in the bushes behind the goal and picked out every adidas ball to take centre stage in the biggest club match in world football.

On the week that the knockout stage commences adidas have unveiled the ball that will be used right up through to the 2018 Final in Kiev, Ukraine. There's history in those trademark stars, dating right back to 2001 when adidas took over from Nike as the UCL official match ball supplier. With the stars progressing to represent the host city of the final, we're starting from back when to see how things have shaped up.


2001: Milan "adidas Grey Star Finale" - adidas won the contract to take over from Nike and became the official match day ball supplier for the Champions League in 2001. The final in Milan was contested between Valencia and Bayern Munich. The ball was called the 'Grey Star Finale' featuring a white background with light grey stars on the various panels on the ball.


2002: Glasgow "adidas Black Star Finale" - For the final at Hampden Park adidas gave us the 'Black Star Finale' ball. Again, the main colour of the ball was white, however this time we saw black stars replace the grey stars used in 2001. The final was played between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen with the Spanish giants winning the game through a Zidane wonder goal.


2003: Manchester "adidas Black Star Finale" - The design of the ball remained untouched in 2003 with the classic black stars. The final in Manchester was an all Italian affair with Juventus and AC Milan going head to head. Not a game for the purest, with the defenders coming out on top to produce a drab 0-0 draw over 120 minutes. AC Milan held their nerve to win the game on penalties.


2004: Gelsenkirchen "adidas Finale Aufschalke" - For 2004 we had the 'adidas Finale Aufschalke' ball using white as the main colour and blue stars covering the panels. This final was contested between Jose Mourinho's Porto and AS Monaco. Porto ran out comfortable winners with a 3-0 victory. A 'Special One' was born...


2005: Istanbul "adidas Finale Istanbul" - In what was a memorable Champions League final in Istanbul where adidas released the 'Finale Istanbul' match day ball. This time the main backdrop of the ball was white with blue and silver stars covering the panels. Alongside a small subtle logo of Istanbul, both teams names which were ingrained on the ball giving it that unique touch.


2006: Paris "adidas Finale Paris" - Featuring the same construction and material as the ball which would also be used later that year in the World Cup. The final in Paris saw Barcelona take on the first London based team to reach a Champions League final, Arsenal. The main characteristics on the ball saw white as the main setting with a visual display of blue and red stars covering each panel of the ball.


2007: Athens "adidas Finale Athens" - AC Milan took on Liverpool in what was a repeat of the 2005 Champions League Final. This time AC Milan won the game 2-1 and the ball for the final adopted a silver complexion as the main colour, instead of the usual white, with blue stars covering the panels to complete the finishing touches.


2008: Moscow "adidas Finale Moscow" - This Champions League Final would be an all English tie in Moscow, with Manchester United and Chelsea facing each other. The ball used for the final incorporated colours which represented key features of Moscow’s culture, with a shade of gold as the main body of the ball and the addition of red and gold stars. The red paid reference to the Red Square, in Moscow whilst the gold was for the famous Kremlin Cathedral.


2009: Rome "adidas Finale Roma" - Manchester United had made it to another final however this time they faced an in-form Barcelona. The adidas Finale ball took huge reference from Rome. The ball featured a silver colour as the main backdrop, whilst burgundy mosaic prints made up each star representing key sporting Roman values: speed, teamwork, justice and power.


2010: Madrid "adidas Finale Madrid" - The 10th anniversary of adidas designing the Champions League ball saw a return to an original white setting which was a representation of Real Madrid’s kit, with the final being played at the Bernabéu. Each star had a red border with gold decoration giving a representation of the Spanish flag, and a date from the previous ten finals.


2011: London "adidas Finale Wembley" - In 2011 we were back at the home of football, Wembley, where Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1. The finale ball used in this game symbolised the St George's Cross using a white base cover with all the stars painted in red bar one, which was orange, acting as the focal point of the St George's Cross.


2012: Munich "adidas Finale Munich" - The Allianz Arena was the venue with Chelsea taking on Bayern Munich in their own backyard. The design used for this Finale Munich ball adopted a jazzy colourful design with the ball continuing to feature an initial white layer, however each star was garnished with a mixture of lime, cyan and indigo. A colourful concoction, indeed.


2013: London "adidas Finale Wembley" - 2013 saw Wembley host a European final for the seventh time, meaning that it was 50 years on from hosting its first European final back in 1963. To mark this occasion, two blue star's on the ball had 1963 and 2013 printed in gold to mark this achievement.


2014: Lisbon "adidas Finale Lisbon" - Lisbon hosted the 14th edition of the adidas Finale ball which took strong reference from the city's rich history of seafaring culture. Plain white was the main background colour for the ball again, with the stars featuring blue colours to symbolise the sea and sky. Orange details wrapped things up, taking inspiration from the terracotta roof tiles of Lisbon homes.


2015: Berlin "adidas Finale Berlin" - The fifteenth edition in the iconic ‘Finale’ series adopted a cultural and historic theme surrounding the host city of the final, Berlin. The Finale 15 was decorated in a spectacle of colour using graphics inspired by some of Berlin’s most recognised symbols and landmarks, including the Brandenburg Gate on the central star panel.


2016: Milan "adidas Finale Milan" - The 2016 edition saw a new design retain the classic stars formation, but introduced iconic graphics of the Teatro alla Scalais and the legendary stairs of San Siro – the host stadium in which Real Madrid were crowned European Champions.


2017: Cardiff "adidas Finale Cardiff" - The dragon was unleashed last season as Wales welcomed Real Madrid and Juventus to Cardiff. Obvious national inspiration scattered across the ball that hit the back of the net four times as Real Madrid retained with a 4-1 victory.


2018: Kiev "adidas Finale Kiev" - The latest and 18th design on the adidas Finale match ball sees a Ukrainian takeover on the iconic stars. With the focus now on reaching the final on May 26 in Kiev, the official match ball serves as a reminder of the prize at stake for players with its redesigned graphics inspired by the final's host city.

Pick up the adidas Finale 2018 UCL Ball from


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