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The battle for silverware is heating up and so is the contest for the most iconic ball of the 2019/20 season as we hurtle towards crunch time in the Premier League and Champions League. Never ones to shy away from a bit of competition, Nike and adidas have released fresh drops on consecutive days as they set out their stall to claim the most iconic ball of the season.

Nike have produced a new Merlin for the Premier League while the adidas Finale will take us through the knockout stages to, fittingly, the Champions League final in Istanbul on 30th of May.

The Nike Premier League Merlin is a bona fide legend and this season The Swoosh have been drawing on their classic designs to provide slick looks for the centre of attention in the world's best league. And, with the 2004 T90 inspired Nike Premier League Winter Merlin preparing to bulge the net for the final time, Nike have mustered up something fresh for the run in.

This is the first time the English top flight has had three official balls in one season, with the white version usually book-ending the winter ball at the start and end of the campaign.
Merlin Full

However, with the Premier League’s third ball, Nike have taken the tech and stylings of the first ball and ratcheted up the drama, adding Premier League trophy graphics and orange ‘tunnel vision’ zones to emphasise the focus that the game’s top players possess as they block out the noise and keep their eyes on the ultimate prize.

This is typified by the glitched tail of the Swoosh and graphic lines which suddenly come into focus as they enter the orange, tunnel vision, circles. It’s a really interesting idea and feels like something that could be here to stay.

Merlin SQ 01
Merlin SQ 04

The Three Stripes have taken inspiration from the mighty Bosporus Straight which divides Europe from Asia in the heart of Istanbul, the host city of the 2020 Champions League final, for their Finale ball. Based on a hand-drawn design of the Bosporus’s route through the Turkish capital, the famous Champions League stars are surrounded by a neon pink and blue map of Istanbul.

We all know and love that classic star design, but this ball has a slight twist on that with the points of the star brushing past each other, rather than meeting at the tip. You’ve got all the usual branding and the Istanbul 20 Final logo which, like the Premier League ball, features the trophy to remind everyone what they’re playing for.

Merlin SQ 03
Merlin SQ 02

It’s tough to pick a favourite here as they’re both so different, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that these two balls are both stunning and really thoughtfully put together in their own right. One thing that could give adidas the edge here though, is the fact that any one of 16 clubs can still claim glory and force iconic moments with the knockout stages set to kick off tonight, whereas Liverpool's relentless march to the title means we’re down to the race for the top five and the relegation scrap in the Premier League.

Whichever’s your favourite, the Nike Mercurial Premier League third ball and adidas Finale Champions League ball are both available from Pro:Direct Soccer right now. And while you’re here, head over to our social channels on YouTube, Insta, Facebook and Twitter to make sure you never miss anything from the biggest and best brands in the game.

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