BOFFINS at adidas reckon they have the secret to stopping Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kicks — the new World Cup ball.
The Telstar 18 was scientifically designed to cut the amount of dip and swerve players can put on it.
That should help goalkeepers in Russia, as well as making it harder for players like Ronaldo to produce the famous ‘knuckle-ball’ free-kicks he has perfected.
Adidas spent three years and millions of pounds developing what they believe is the most perfect piece of equipment ever used in the game.
And it is all down to the way the ball’s man-made carcass is built using material similar to that seen in medical strapping.
Adidas say their new process has ironed out any discrepancies in the thickness of the carcass — meaning it should fly true through the air when it is struck on the sweet spot.
Added to that, the Telstar 18 — modelled on the iconic ball used at the Mexico World Cup in 1970 — also features an ingenious ‘jigsaw’ design for the outer panels that is aimed at reducing air turbulence.
And it was also put through its paces by a robot-boot kicking machine at adidas’ German HQ which hammered shots at 90mph.
The Hawk-Eye technology used in cricket and tennis was also employed to make sure the ball performed consistently every kick.
Players from all 32 countries have been training with the new model.
Come Thursday it will be time for them to deliver.