Design classics


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Made from 12 regular pentagonal faces and 20 regular hexagonal faces, and based on a design by American architect Richard Buckminster-Fuller, the Adidas Telstar football was, and still is, the greatest looking football of all time.

Buckminster- Fuller came up with the design when he was trying to find a way for constructing buildings using a minimum of materials, but ended up revolutionising football. Early footballs were constructed with heavy leather that was sewn up with laces, but this series of hexagons, pentagons and triangles made a near-perfect sphere when inflated.

And its colour-scheme was just right for watching football. Mexico 1970 was the first World Cup tournament to be covered live in its entirety, so the ball was created with black and white panels so it could be followed easily on black and white television sets, hence its name The Telstar — a portmanteau of television star. It also showed how the ball was spinning so you could see how the players were making it swerve. Remember the brilliant curling pass for Jarzinho to cross and Pele to force Gordon Banks into the most famous save of all time? The Telstar showed every movement.

That great Brazil team won with this ball and it was used again in the 1974 tournament as the great Dutch side playing their total football. It was eventually replaced by the next generation of football – the rather lovely and equally missed Adidas Tango – that took the design on a step further. But the Telstar had made its mark on football fans all over the world and while Adidas continue to release overly-light and ugly monstrosities like the Fevernova and Wawa Aba, the Telstar will always be the coolest ball ever made.

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