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Best footballs 2021: Nike or Adidas? These are the top balls for training, matches – or playing in the park

Best football 2021: Premier League ball
(Image credit: PA)

What's the best football to buy? How long have you got...

Back in your grandad's day, all footballs were orange, made of thick leather and soaked a wet pitch up like a sponge. You'd get a concussion from heading one. 

Nowadays, however, the balls are just like the boots and shirts in football: multicoloured, lightweight and a fashion accessory as much as a piece of equipment.

With so many footballs to choose from online, what's best for the type of game you're planning? Of course, we've omitted the option as seen in Mike Bassett: England Manager of training without a ball at all.

We've rounded up the best footballs on offer for any budget – including the best deals on Premier League, Euro 2020 and Champions League official matchballs.

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Best football: Nike Flight new Premier League ball February 2021

(Image credit: Nike)

1. Premier League Nike Flight

For the final third of the season, there's a brand new, Aerow-inspired Nike Flight

Incredible design
All the regular tech of the Nike Flight
Easily visible
Expensive
Three designs a season
FFT BEST PICKS

Remember the classic Nike balls with the Blue ring around them, that Thierry Henry used to wallop from 30 yards towards unsuspecting keepers?

That's the inspiration for the latest Nike Premier League Flight ball, used for the final part of this season. This is the second season in a row that Nike have brought out a match ball for the closing stages of the season - we're not mad at it, either. The more awesome designs like this, the better.

Should you want, though, the designs from earlier in the season are also available – and are no different to play with.

Having seen this in action in England all season – and having been lucky enough to play with it extensively, we think this might be the best football currently available.

Adidas Uniforia, Euro 2020 ball, best footballs

(Image credit: Adidas)

2. Adidas Uniforia

The official Euro 2020 ball is the best football to have to impress this summer

Official Euro 2020 ball
Durable and will last years
Will be THE ball to have this summer
Expensive
Design not as good as Nike's current offerings

The Adidas Uniforia is the official matchball of Euro 2020 this summer. Most similar in design to the 2014 Brazuca World Cup ball, it also has a certain 1980s Tango influence to it.

What is not in doubt is that this is Adidas's top-of-the-range ball and, with Euro dates meeting up so neatly with the end of a year of coronavirus lockdowns, it's very likely to become an instant classic, embodying a summer of freedom and football.

It's worth buying now, because its £120 price tag will only go up.

Nike Premier League Strike, best Footballs

(Image credit: Nike)

3. Nike Premier League Strike

It's the cheaper version and available in another colour

Great value
Almost identical to the original
Alternate colour option
Not quite as high-tech as the official ball

Perhaps you're looking to spend a little less on a football than £125. Or maybe, you're just insistent that your football has to be cyan, "hyper royal" blue and "laser orange".

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Either way, the Strike is the cheaper replica version of the Flight. It also soars through the air and it feels fine for a lower-end model. 

If you're looking for the best football ball to take to the park this summer without breaking the bank, this will still impress your mates.

Nike Flight football, Premier League ball

(Image credit: Nike)

4. Nike Flight

The original: the minimal ball that the Nike Premier League ball is based on

Minimal look
All the same goodness as the Premier League Flight
Crosses and dots make the design feel like a prototype
Isn't colourful. Boo.
Design never used in an official game

This is the more minimal version of the Prem ball, released last summer before the colour-obssessed designers got their mitts on it – and it still looks awesome.

The press release for this design explains how it incorporates "Nike’s new AerowSculpt technology, delivering a measurable benefit of 30% truer flight than its Nike predecessor." Which basically means a hell of a lot of science went into making this as aerodynamically perfect as a ball can be. Eight years worth of science, in fact. 

It looks minimal, has been engineered to within an inch of its life and will be a timeless classic, as far as we're concerned. The best football to show up with at 5-a-side next season without the snotty comments about it being "last season's ball".

BEST BOOTS The latest releases from Nike, Adidas, Puma and Umbro

Adidas Finale Champions League ball 2021, best footballs

(Image credit: Adidas)

5. Adidas Finale 21

Official matchball for the 2021 Champions League final

Official Champions League matchball
Classic UCL design
Top of the range and durable
Not the best colour scheme

There's always excitement around the Champions League ball – its star design is a constant, and means you can imagine yourself as Zidane, Bale or Goretzka scoring in any number of finals throughout the years.

This year's "metallic" colour scheme is not one of our favourites here at FourFourTwo, but we never sniff at a Champions League ball, and the Adidas Finale 21 is no different. There's no doubt in our minds that this is one of the best footballs around.

Puma teamFinal, best footballs

(Image credit: -)

6. Puma teamFINAL ball

Let the cat out of the (training) bag

Clean design
Classic panels
Perfect for training
Naff colours

Puma's teamFINAL effort might sound like the kind of ball you'd use in a showpiece, but it's also perfect for training with. The company are now tasked with Manchester City's shirt-making so if you're looking for a ball to match, this could well be the product for you.

This ball is labelled as "Unisex" too. In case that's important.

WORKOUT TRAINERS Flexible, light and perfect for getting fit at home

Adidas Tango, best footballs

(Image credit: -)

7. Adidas Tango Glider Ball

Proper old-style football to evoke the '80s

Retro design
Original Adidas logo
Machine seams
Pressure stays in the ball for longer
Feels a little lightweight

You can almost see Dennis Bergkamp taking this ball down with a velvet touch, bamboozling an Argentinian defender and slotting it into the net. 

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It's amazing what classic design can evoke and this Adidas Tango ball is no different. Old school isn't everyone's cup of tea but this retro design is a fantastic update on one of history's favourite footballs.