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Famed former Spanish internationals Emilio Butragueño and Fernando Hierro have helped UEFA and adidas to unveil the official match ball for the UEFA Champions League final at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium on 22 May.
The Finale Madrid becomes the tenth in the series of match balls supplied by adidas for the UEFA Champions League final – marking the latest milestone in the sports-apparel manufacturer's partnership with UEFA – and the anniversary issue will make its competitive debut in the climax to the European club season in the Spanish capital.
The design of the Finale Madrid celebrates the ten most recent UEFA Champions League finals, including this season's, with the exclusive motif from each of these showpiece matches being drawn in gold inside one of the characteristic star panels of the ball. The red borders of each star reference the colours of the Spanish flag while the base of the ball is inspired by the white of the city of Madrid – stage for the highly anticipated game on 22 May. The final, which is nearly ten weeks away, will be the first played on a Saturday in the UEFA Champions League era.
Speaking at today's Finale Madrid launch at the Santiago Bernabéu, Butragueño, the 2010 final ambassador and, like his former Spain and Real Madrid CF team-mate Fernando Hierro, a player still synonymous with football in the Spanish capital, said: "It's very important to have a special ball for the biggest game of the season in Europe. The ball incorporates a beautiful design and you can see the logos of the ten finals on it. Playing with it means the players will feel something very unique – it's fantastic. Adidas have been experts for decades in making footballs. We were happy with the ones we played with in our time, but the technology and design have improved immensely."
While its design salutes recent tradition, the new starball embraces innovation too. Under the motto 'design becomes technology', adidas has adjusted the ball to the star-panel design, making the Finale and the UEFA Champions League logo inseparable and, at the same time, providing the truest possible ball flight. The ball's 20 pentagonal panels retain the goose-bump texture of previous editions to guarantee ideal control under all conditions.
David Taylor, CEO of UEFA Events SA, said: "The ball is the most important thing on the pitch, and we needed a special ball for a special final – which we've created. It's the best we've ever seen. I'd go as far as to say it's not really a football, it's more a work of art. I'd like to pay tribute to adidas who have been working for a long time on this project. This represents the tenth final in which UEFA have been collaborating with adidas and, as part of that relationship, the ball incorporates the logos of the ten finals. The game will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu, a true cathedral of football, and it's going to be spectacular."
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