Peter Pesti

“After a few years of collecting, I realized that I can never have all the balls I need. So I decided to travel in order to photograph balls so that I can show them to the public. This is how I express myself and share my hobby with others as a photographer.”

INTRODUCTION

 

My name is Peter Pesti, I live in Hungary and I am the founder and owner of this website. Now I tell you my story how I got addicted with soccer and what made and motivated me to create this website for you. I also share with you what it means to be a collector, what achievements I have reached and how this hobby has changed my private and professional life forever.

Click here to read my story

 

MY CHILDHOOD AND LOVE FOR SOCCER

 

As you can see through the image gallery below, soccer has been my favorite sport and even my passion eversince I was a little child. I grew up in the ’80s so we had no internet or too many TV stations in Hungary, therefore my friends and I used to spend our days with playing soccer and talking about it. Also my grandfather used to tell me stories of the old era when Hungary had the best team in the world. I have learned a lot from my grandpa and the fact that I like soccer this much is partly because of him. He was born on 13th July, 1930 – exactly on the same day when the very first World Cup match started, so he has quite a remarkable birthday and I dedicate this website to his memory.

In high school I used to wear soccer shirts and many times I played alone in the afternoon trying to hit the crossbar. I never wanted to quit unless I managed to hit it from the penalty box line, no matter how much time it took. During these years I wrote soccer related articles and they were published a few times even by nation-wide newspapers. My father used to be the head of an agricultural company and whenever he traveled abroad for a business trip he always took a ball home for me. I used to play with these balls and destroyed them all with my friends. Of course my dream was to own a real World Cup match ball but I could not afford any of them at that time.

I still remember the first World Cup ball that I have ever seen. This adidas Questra match ball was used in the final match of the 1994 FIFA World Cup betweem Brazil and Italy and was displayed in a sportmuseum in Hungary where Sandor Puhl (the Hungarian referee of the 1994 World Cup final match) has brought it. I was looking at this ball for about 10 minutes and I could not move! It was love for the first sight and it was the moment when something special happened in me. At that time I could not explain what exactly it was but I felt the spirit and that I will have something in common with balls in the future.

 

THE MOMENT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

 

During the university I spent a year in Belgium and I started to work there, as well. I made good money and I could finally afford to buy an official match ball, it was the UEFA Champions League matchball, the Adidas Finale with dark blue stars. I also bought a new pair of Adidas Mundial boots and it was time to test my new ball on the soccer field. I aimed the crossbar from 16 meters like everytime in the past and I still remember to hit the crossbar 4 times out of my first 5 trials! I simply couldn’t believe my eyes! Nothing like this had happened before (and not even after) this. As it turned out later, these 5 shots have changed my life forever. I namely decided to buy other matchballs to find out how they perform in the air, are they as accurate as the above mentioned Adidas Finale ball.

So I went online trying to find some older models, no matter if they were World Cup, Euro Cup or Champions League models. While I was searching for them, I discovered that there are people who do not play with balls but rather put them on display. I said what, are the balls collectable? And well, the answer turned out to be a big yes! In the following months and years I got to know many collectors world wide, many of them became friends and I also started my own collection, as well. During the last year before I graduated, my dorm room was full of balls, which was quite unique in the eyes of my studends mates and the girls, too… 🙂 And of course as time went by, my knowledge of balls also started to improve.

 

THE IDEA OF CREATING A WEBSITE FOR FOOTBALLS

 

In the spring of 2007 I came up with the idea of creating a website of footballs. I already had a lot of collector friends by then and I organized a European tour to visit some of them in order to take photos of their balls to upload onto my site. But then a disaster happened. While I was in Barcelona attending a Champions League match, our van got robbed out, and I not only lost my laptop and camera but also the photos of all balls that I have already taken. At that moment my dream of sharing my passion seemed to fade away. It was a very dark period of my life but after a while I started to recover from the loss and I bought a new digital camera with all the necessary equipment and sent them to a Spanish collector friend of mine who took photos of the balls of his outstanding collection according to my instructions. This made me possible to finish the first version of this site. (The actual site you see here is already the third edition.)

 

THE PRODUCTION OF THE PRE-ADIDAS WORLD CUP BALLS

 

To finance the cost of worldcupballs.info and to do some business I decided to give new birth of the first 8 World Cup balls before the Adidas era. I made a long research how these World Cup balls used to look like between 1930 and 1966 and based on old photographs and advertisements I was the first person in the world to reproduce them all. Apart from many collectors even the FIFA Museum has bought a few sets from me and these balls are still on display by them in Switzerland. When I started this business I could not dream about any better reference and feedback for my work as a ball producer. And creating these balls made it possible for a lot of collectors to display the entire World Cup balls evolution as the original, old versions of these pre-adidas balls are simply impossible to collect and are extremely expensive if ever found.

 

MY MEDIA APPEREANCES AND BOOK OF FOOTBALLS

 

As I became better known, the media started to approach me at different levels. I appeared in newspapers, magazines and on television. Even the New York Times published my series of World Cup ball photos during the summer of 2014.One year later I had the idea of creating something bigger: a book of footballs. I don’t know if this is a coinsidence or the law of attraction but while I was thinking about my new idea around two or three weeks later a German publisher contacted me in order to ask me to cooperate with them on making a book of footballs. Their intension was to use my old photos but at that time I was already a professional photographer and I told them that I would only join the project if I can photograph all the necessary balls with a much more professional design and setup. I insisted on high-end picture quality and did not mind that I had to start everything from zero. It took me one month to finish and finetune my new photo setup, I spent long hours in the studio almost every day.

As you can imagine, this project required a lot of new travels as well, but the publisher was not willing to pay for them. Since I treated this project as a self-expressing mission I decided to finance all my travels and all additional costs including the transportation of my setup to the destinations. It was a lot of work to organize every single details but in the end I took pictures of over 500 balls in 7 countries with the exact same design. I visited museums, collector friends and the Adidas Headquarters and among many others I photographed a lot of game used balls from World Cups, Euro Cups and Champions League final matches – everything a collector can dream about. I was constantly traveling, I only spent a few days at home between two countries. And what life took away from me in 2007 when I lost everything, it gave back to me in 2015 with the production of my new book. And I could also hold the 1994 World Cup final game used Questra ball in my hands during my photo session, the same ball that I saw two decades earlier in the museum as a child. If you ever wonder what the real flow experience means, well I can tell you: for me it was this adventure. As a result I own the most coherent series of soccer ball photos in the world and the first book of balls that was available in shops was also photographed by me. This makes me proud, happy and satisfied.

 

MY EXPERT WORKS AND MEETING WITH PELÉ

 

During the past few years I contributed in the production of some movies where the film makers asked for my expertize which types of balls to use in the movies that took place in the first half of XX. century or the ’60s. And it was always me to supply the balls for the films, which is another way of making benefit from my knowledge of soccer balls and ball producing abilities. I even supplied a big amount of balls for Pelé’s management for his signatures and helped them in an other project, too. In return they invited me to London for a special event, which was part of Pelé’s European tour in 2016. Then I had the chance to talk with him and I even showed him my book. That evening is still one of the most special memories of my life, as while I was talking with one of the greatest sportsmen of all time about my work and achievements I thought back where I came from and how it all started.

 

MY FUTURE GOALS

 

My future goal is to keep sharing my passion through my website and photographs. I’d like to publish the photo series of the 22 original World Cup balls in many newspapers and magazines world wide. This is not an impossible mission because it has happened in the past many times. Apart from this, I’d like to keep producing balls for the soccer fans helping them to become collectors and join our community. I will always be ready to give interviews about my hobby and the history of the balls for different media and organizations. And if an English book of footballs will ever be published, I hope that it will be illustrated with my photographs.

 

MY GRATITUDE TO MY HOBBY

 

Overall I need to say that I am greatful for this hobby, it took me places where I would have never gone, made it possible to meet people I would have never met and gave me opportunities to appear not only in the Hungarian but also in the international media achieving great references as a photographer in my professional life, as well. Due to collecting I have an extended relationship with other collectors, many of them became good friends of mine. Since my first travel in 2007 I managed to meet many of them in person and I was also visited in Budapest by some of them. We live in different parts of the world but we have the same passion that brings us together. Now I have friends in almost every part of the world and it all happened because of the love of our favorite sport. This makes me delighted and grateful. I invested a lot of time and effort into this hobby but I can tell you: it was worth it without any doubt and was one of the best decisions of my life!

Image Gallery

Find some photos of my life below proving that I have always been obsessed with balls.

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If you wish to write me as message or send me some photos, I will try to answer in 24 hours. Thank you for your patience!

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