Itâ€™s a bit like a beachball,â€ the Spain captain was quoted as telling Spanish media Sunday, the day after the friendly in Innsbruck, Austria. He went on to describe the unpredictable movement of the ball.
â€œNow it isnâ€™t only the goalkeepers (complaining) it is the outfield players as well. Itâ€™s sad that a competition as important as a World Cup has an element as vital as the ball with such abysmal characteristics.â€
Midfield playmaker Xavi said: â€œItâ€™s a question of getting used to it but in truth it does move around a lot.â€
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon joined the chorus of disapproval.
â€œThe new model is absolutely inadequate and I believe it is shameful to play such an important competition, where so many champions are taking part, with a ball like that,â€ the 2006 World Cup winner told his website (www.gianluigibuffon.com).
The Adidas World Cup ball, whose name â€˜Jabulaniâ€™ means â€˜to celebrateâ€™ in the Zulu language, was billed as the first perfectly round ball and the most accurate yet when it was unveiled by FIFA.
New balls for major tournaments always make players uneasy and there has been plenty of anger this time with the World Cup in South Africa due to kick off on June 11.
Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar has said the ball is â€œterrible, horribleâ€ and like one purchased in a supermarket while Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini said it was a â€œdisasterâ€ for both goalkeepers and forwards because it is so light.
Facts about the â€œJABULANIâ€
The â€œJABULANIâ€, which means â€œto celebrateâ€ in isiZulu, features a South African inspired design and radically new technology.
The nameÂ â€œJabulaniâ€ originates from the indigenous language isiZulu, one of the eleven official languages of the Republic of South Africa, which is spoken by almost 25% of the population. Literally translated, â€œJabulaniâ€ means â€œto celebrateâ€. Football is a passion that unites the world. The name of the new match ball appropriately pays tribute to the passionate football celebration international fans will enjoy in South Africa starting this month.
Eleven different colors are used in the Adidas â€œJabulaniâ€, the eleventh Adidas World Cup ball. These 11 colors represent the 11 players in every team, the 11 official languages of South Africa and the 11 South African communities that make the country one of the most ethnologically diverse countries on the African continent. The colorful design brings together the tremendous diversity of the country in harmonious unity. Four triangle-shaped design elements on a white background lend the ball a unique appearance in African spirit.
3-D panel shapes:
The Match Ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup features a completely new, ground-breaking technology. Eight 3-D spherically formed EVA and TPU panels are moulded together, harmoniously enveloping the inner carcass. The result is an energetic unit combined with perfect roundness. When the ball was first tested, players all over the world are enthusiastic and promised many goals with the new ball.
What did the players have to say:
Michael Ballack: â€œFantastic, the ball does exactly what I want it to.â€
Petr Cech: â€œYou can feel the energy coming towards you, like a shot.â€
Frank Lampard: â€œA very strong ball, true to hit.â€
KakÃ¡: â€œFor me, contact with the ball is all-important, and thatâ€™s just great with this ball.â€
The newly developed â€œGripâ€™nâ€™Grooveâ€ profile provides the best players in the world with a ball allowing an exceptionally stable flight and perfect grip under all conditions. Comprising only eight, completely new, thermally bonded 3-D panels, which for the first time are spherically molded, the ball is perfectly round and even more accurate than ever before.
The ground breaking performance features of the â€œJabulaniâ€ were confirmed in comprehensive comparison tests at Loughborough University in England and countless checks in wind tunnel and the Adidas football laboratory in Scheinfeld, Germany.Â
Since the introduction of the â€œgoose bumpsâ€ surface for the last European Championship ball, the microtexture of the new ballâ€™s outer skin was also given a visible facelift. The Jabulani has futuristic texture with fantastic grip, giving players full control over the ball under all weather conditions.