Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has debuted the new Nike Flight ball to be used in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, but fans will have to shell out £125 if they want one.
Last month, the eye-catching new ball was launched and had fans drawing comparisons in its appearance to a golf ball, with ridges featuring on its surface as part of radical new designs.
And while the initial design looked rather bland, the Flight that has today hit the market looks more striking than the ball released last month.
Always happiest with a ball by my side. Never let anyone tell you your dreams are too big ¿¿¿¿ @nikefootball @premierleague #playwithlove
The ball is splashed with white, laser crimson and black 3-D printed ink, with the colours corresponding with the grooves of the football. The iconic Premier League logo is also emblazoned on the new ball.
United striker Rashford has given his thoughts on the new ball, modelling with the Flight on his Instagram page.
‘Always happiest with a ball by my side. Never let anyone tell you your dreams are too big,’ he said. The England international can be seen doing tricks with the Flight, as he grows accustomed to the new ball.
Nike, the manufacturer of the ball, says that with its new AerowSculpt technology the ball maintains a 30 per cent truer flight than its predecessor, the Merlin, for precise passing and shooting, limiting the unpredictable motion of the ball once it has been kicked.
The AerowSculpt technology creates a more stable flight by disrupting the airflow over the ball and reducing its drag.
That may come as bad news for free kick takers, who look to capitalise on the unpredictable movement of the ball to make life as difficult as possible for goalkeepers looking to keep their strikes out. Although those who prefer accuracy and precision may be pleased.
If a ball is completely smooth, it is gripped by the air, creating a significant wake and causing frequent changes in direction.
The design has been eight years and 1,700 hours in the making, following plenty of complaints regarding the adidas Jabulani – the ball used in the 2010 World Cup – with players bemoaning the unpredictability of the ‘world’s roundest ball’.
‘Everything done at the Lab is rooted in science,’ says Kieran Ronan, Nike Senior Director for Global Equipment.
‘Here, we are able to detect small differences in performance that may not be perceivable to most athletes, but when those small differences are iterated upon 68 times, the result is a noticeable leap in performance.
‘The construction started with a square-shaped Aerotrack groove. Over the course of the 68 iterations, we modified the shape of the groove, added sculpted chevrons and explored multiple features throughout to deliver one geometric pattern that helps promote a more stable flight.’