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Barcelona Kit History: Mystery Behind The Blaugrana

With one of the most iconic shirts in football, FC Barcelona can also lay claim to being one of the most successful clubs in the sport with legends like Ronaldo, Messi, Ronaldinho and Maradona wearing their colors. With their blue and maroon stripes (and lately also squares), the origin of the Blaugrana colors is a story of much debate.

The most common theory is that the colors originated from Joan Gamper, the founder of FC Barcelona, and his love for his previous club FC Basel. A quick look at the Swiss team’s kits offers this theory much credence.

However, other theories. Probably the most improbable would be that a board member’s blue and maroon colored pencil inspired the kit during a board meeting in late 1899. Another is that two of the club’s early players, Englishmen Ernest and Arthur Witty, once brought back their local Merchant Taylors’ School Rugby shirts for all of the FC Barcelona players – who consequently donned the shirts for a match and the start of a long blue and maroon shirt history.

The stripes of the shirt have also had a long-standing history. Aside from the 2015-16 season (horizontal stripes) and the current 2019-20 shirt (checkered), the stripes on the shirt have always been a consistent vertical. It’s no surprise that fans have often protested with these changes away from tradition.

Another important part of the shirt history is the sponsor. Until 2006, FC Barcelona were one of the few clubs left in professional football without a shirt sponsor emblazoned on the front of their shirts. The change was attributed to Joan Laporta’s board, who reached an agreement with UNICEF for the first shirt sponsor in the club’s history. Qatar Airways followed in 2011, followed by Rakuten in 2017 – along with Beko as their shirt sleeve sponsor.

Throughout their long 120 year history, Barcelona has had just three shirt suppliers. Sponsorless until 1982, they were then supplied by Meyba from 1982 to 1992, Kappa until 1998, and by Nike ever since.

A final point in the history of the FC Barcelona home kit are the shorts. Interestingly, the first shorts were white, followed by black, with blue only coming into play from the 1920s. Since then, the majority of kits have had blue with the occasional black, or maroon being used on odd occasions.

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