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Top 10 Greatest Footballs

09:13 BST 22/06/2010
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Goal.com counts down ten of the finest balls to ever be kicked around...

10) Free Mini Football
You know the ones. Cheap, nasty and usually with some tacky brand on it. They lasted about a wet day - if that. On the plus side the only good thing was that they were usually free.



9) The T-Shape (1930)
As the first ball to be ever used in a World Cup final it deserves a place in the list. It had 12 T panels and had visible stitching as was common in that era.
All leather and incredibly heavy if it rained there was a row in the inaugural final between Uruguay and Argentina. Neither team could agree which ball to use so Argentina supplied their own ball for the first half and Uruguay used theirs in the second. Strangely enough Argentina were leading 2-1 at the break but when Uruguay used their own ball they romped home 4-2 to claim the first ever World Cup on home soil.

8) Nike Brazil Ball (1998)
The American sports giant were a latecomer to football only supplying kit to a handful of teams during the 90s. It all kicked off when they inked a £100 million deal with Brazil in 1996 leading to a brilliant TV ad two years later with the Selecao players juggling the ball in an airport. Fabulous stuff.


7) Crack (1962)
Crack was the first ball to switch from long panels to 18 octagons. Embarrassingly there was no 'Crack' in sight for the opening game between Chile and Switzerland so a random ball from inside the stadium was sourced until the official ball showed up with a handful of minutes remaining in the first World Cup. It promptly deflated a few minutes later and another 'Crack' was required. FIFA weren't exactly thrilled and decided that allowing the locals to take care of match balls was a thing of the past. Adi Dassler was called and the rest is history.

6) Sponge Football
Once you'd smashed all the windows and broke the family vase the delicate sponge ball was the only football your mother allowed back in the house. Once you got over the initial confusion of trying to trap this creature it became a delight to play with. However, if you made the mistake of bringing it outside and it got soaked in the rain the ball was never the same again. A tragedy in other words.

5) Super Duplo T (1950)
Revolutionary for its time. This ball was the first to do away with the old fashioned lacing and was inflated like a modern ball is with a valve. Just like in 1930 this football had 12 panels and plunged Brazil into a deep despair when it rocketed into the back of the net as Uruguay famously beat the Selecao on home soil.

4) Mitre Ultimax (1998)
The Sunday league player's favourite this was the first ball to be ever recorded at over 100mph. Described by the manufacturer as the 'world's fastest and most accurate football' it was used in the English Premier League in the late 90s and was the original micro fibre ball. One things for sure you didn't want to get in the way of this one.

3) Adidas Telstar (1970)
FIFA's first official World Cup ball was the weapon of choice for Brazil's 1970 masters. Boasting 32 hand stitched panels (12 black pentagons and 20 white hexagons) the mixture of colours worked particularly well if you were watching the tournament in black and white. Hence the name 'Telstar' deriving from star of television. It was also the roundest ball then made and is almost as memorable as the golden samba shirts worn by Pele, Jairzinho et al. So good it was used again in 1974.

2) Mitre Delta 1000 (1986)
Before the Premier League and Sky television this was the ball of choice for every aspiring old Division One footballer. Rolled out by Mitre in 1986 it was used in Britain during the late 80s and early 90s long before football became sexy again in the UK. A simple no nonsense design with two colours - black and white. Oh how very English! Fans of a certain age will recall flicking a mini Mitre Delta across the Subbuteo table. Great days. I swear it was over the line...

1) Adidas Tango Espana (1982)
Getting your hands on an elusive Adidas Tango as a kid was akin to finding the holy grail. No, seriously it was. The ball was introduced in 1978 for the World Cup but really rocketed to stardom four years later when Zico and Socrates were spraying it around with wilful abandon in Spain. Oh those magnificent triads.

It was the first ball to have water resistant qualities but due to its delicate construction it usually had to be replaced during a game. The Tango Espana also was the last genuine leather World Cup ball. Costing an outrageous sum, over £50 back in the day, it spawned all manner of deriviates throughout the 80s and 90s. Chances are you had one of the many imitations, chances are you loved it more than life itself, chances are you going looking for another one right now...

* This article includes material from a previous Top 10 World Cup Footballs

Which is your favourite football of all time? Are you a Tango or Delta fan? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think.