Strike like Benzema with the Puma Adrenalina
Last year, the good folks from La Liga introduced us to the Puma Accelerate, the official match ball for the Spanish league. We absolutely loved it for its great balance of padding, consistency in flight and all round fun factor when it came to striking the ball.
This season, La Liga provided us with the Puma Adrenalina, the high-vis version of the Puma Accelerate, that will be used in low visibility environments for the 2021/22 campaign.
Could the performance be as consistent year on year just like Jan Oblak’s goalkeeping? We took the ball to our evening training sessions to find out.
Unravelling the Puma Adrenalina
The first impression you get is how much better looking this season’s ball is. Compared to last season’s, the Puma Adrenalina features more modern, angular motifs to rival the other league balls from a visual stand point.
I personally prefer the white/red/orange combination of the Accelerate but the neon/blue/black combination of the Puma Adrenalina ain’t that bad either.
Tech-wise, it seems that Puma did not make too many changes to a ball which was already a top performer. According to the big cat, the ball “incorporates cutting-edge technology and high frequency molding to provide perfect sphericity, maintaining the balls shape and reducing water absorption.”
They also added that “the aerodynamic surface is 1.2mm textural 3D PU, making it more resistant to abrasion and wear. POE foam is added to increase touch sensitivity, providing a firmer feel and better bounce consistency.”
Essentially, Puma got the ball to be as perfectly round as possible for aerodynamics and they updated the texture and materials to reduce water seepage and improve the feel. Pretty straightforward stuff when it comes to modern match balls.
Pumping up the Adrenalina
The last time we brought a Puma ball to training, our training mates absolutely loved it. Our team were licking their lips in anticipation upon my announcement that I was bringing the ball down for training.
While it looked not too different from the last generation ball, I quickly noticed something that was odd. The ball would often slip out of my hands when I held it against the side of my body.
The Puma Adrenalina was slippery and this was evident in the first session. The touch on the ball was fine but movements which required close contact with the ball took some getting used to such as dribbling, scoop turns and dragbacks because the ball would slip off your feet if you weren’t careful or blessed with Modric-like talent.
After that first session though, the ball’s texture will feel a little bit more matte and that’s where the fun begins.
The Puma Adrenalina feels nicely cushioned which helps you a little bit with that first touch. Passing and striking the ball also feels forgiving as the padding and wider panels allows a bit of technique correction if you had a bad touch. You do feel like a pro, making those passes and strikes and the ball goes where you want it to go.
However, the ball’s padding doesn’t guarantee you turn into Sergio Busquets – no ball can. You still need good technique but the padding and large sweet spot helps slightly.
Just like the previous ball, you might need to adjust your technique slightly to compensate for the padding but you’ll adapt like a duck to water.
High-vis balls are usually meant for environments with snowy conditions where the falling snow makes it hard to spot a traditional white ball. While I’m based a little too close to the equator for us to have snow here in Singapore, the ball was quite striking mid-flight and we can only assume it stays bright when it comes to winter in temperate climates.
The Puma Adrenalina is an underrated gem
We said it for the last review and we’ll say it again, the Puma Adrenalina is underrated. Puma doesn’t get a lot of publicity with its match balls. That is usually a space dominated by Nike (England, Italy) and adidas (international tournaments, Champions League) but we’re glad that it is starting to gain prominence through the Spanish La Liga.
It is a ball that would be perfect for the Sunday League or a simple 5-a-side kickabouts with your friends. Once you’ve broken in the ball and lose that slippery texture, the Puma Adrenalina will make you feel like Joao Felix and Frenkie de Jong with the touch and close control.