Meet The New Nike Ball For The 2018/19 Premier League Season
The Merlin football is making a grand return to the Premier League next season. But this time, it’s implementing innovative technology to make sure that players will have no trouble doing the business on a wet, Tuesday night in Stoke.
Football is all about magic. The ability to keep the ball glued to your feet, the finesse to bend a shot into the top corner and the audacity to run rings around your opponents- these are magical powers that many of us crave, but only a select few are lucky enough to possess.
Of course, it takes years of training to master these powers, as players continue to hone their craft in an unwavering attempt to become the best that they can be. Nevertheless, the magic of football has always been there.
Perhaps that was what Nike were thinking at the turn of the century, back when they replaced Mitre as the official provider of Premier League footballs. Their debut design was called the Geo Merlin, which found itself at the centre of several Premier League landmarks during its 2-year lifespan.
Following its huge success, Nike inevitably released the Geo Merlin II, the second generation of a football that the likes of Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Les Ferdinand just loved to smash into the back of the net. Remember that wonder-goal against Arsenal that announced Wayne Rooney to the world? That was the Geo Merlin II that went screaming past David Seaman.
But then the Total 90 craze took off, and the Merlin was pushed out of the spotlight. It’s been 14 years since the Merlin last graced the Premier League, and we’re absolutely over-the-moon to see that it’s finally going to return next season.
But this time, it’s bigger and better than ever; incorporating an innovative construction that could revolutionise Premier League football. When you compare the original Merlin designs of the early 2000’s with this latest release, it’s not hard to see just how far football has evolved.
The original design featured a 32-panel design, something that was (at the time of its release) considered to be the best around. Of course, the Premier League would never accept anything less. But the new Merlin is constructed with just 4-panels, offering a level of accuracy and control that just wasn’t feasible 14 years ago.
Late last year, adidas released the official ball for this summer’s FIFA World Cup, and we were all suitably impressed by the 6-panel design they came up with. But it’s almost like adidas have said “we’re going to create the most innovative, accurate football ever made” and Nike have literally responded with: “hold my beer.”
The new Nike Merlin is not just all about control and accuracy, but more about being able to make the most of these attributes in extreme conditions. We’ve all heard about those wet Tuesday nights in Stoke, but this new football aims to help players over come those conditions. But how?
The answer lies in Nike’s implementation of the innovative All Conditions Control (ACC) technology, something that has never been used in the construction of a football before. This ultimately means that players can spend more time figuring out how to beat tough defenders, and less time worrying about those blustery gusts of wind.
During construction, Nike have replaced the traditional rubber materials with a latex bladder to ensure that the ball will keep its shape; while they’ve also made sure to create a larger sweet spot to offer a cleaner strike of the football. If this means more wonder-goals from distance, you can count us in!
This is more than just the release of a football: this could be considered a feat of engineering. The ‘ACC’ Merlin will be the official match ball in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A next season and is set for release in stores this summer. When you consider the talent on offer in all of those leagues, it’s fair to say we can’t wait to see it in action.
FOOTY.COM will be finding you the best deals and lowest prices on the new Merlin once it has been officially released, alongside the widest range of Premier League football kits ahead of the new season.