Just as they have done every year since 1970, adidas have been charged with providing the official match ball for the FIFA World Cup in Russia next year.
That very ball, the Telstar 18, has been unveiled today — a retro-inspired design harking back to the classic white-and-black Telstar balls used at the finals in 1970 and 1974.
The Telstar 18 joins a grand pantheon of World Cup match balls, which includes predecessors such as the Tango, the Azteca, the Questra, the infamously unstable Jabulani from South Africa 2010 and the Brazuca used in Brazil back in 2014.
The new ball has already found a prominent supporter in the guise of Lionel Messi, who offered rave reviews after testing it out during the development phase.
“I was lucky enough to get to know this ball a bit earlier and I managed to have a try with it,” Messi told FIFA.com.
“I like all of it: the new design, the colours, everything.”
Well that’s that then. If Messi likes it, nobody else stands a chance!