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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Real Madrid Kit History: The Road to Becoming Los Blancos

Arguably the most successful football club in the world, the undisputed Kings of Europe with 13 Championships and the only team to have successfully defended their UEFA Champions League title, not once but twice in a row, Real Madrid are a team with a great history and a kit that has always been recognized globally.

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Since the club was founded on the 6th of March 1902, the team has worn an all-white uniform. The origin of this practice coincides with the introduction of football to Madrid. To participate in a match the “primitive” players took off their regular clothes and played in their underwear: a white undershirt and white shorts. Teams wore colored bands across their chest to differentiate each other, but they fell off easily and so new uniforms had to be found. As the first club in Madrid, the Madrid Football Club retained the right to wear all-white as their uniform.

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The sole exception to this was the year 1925 when they wore black shorts in order to replicate one of the most famous teams of that time: London’s Corinthian F.C. This experiment lasted only one year though because during that season they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) by Barcelona with a 1-5 loss in Madrid and 2-0 loss in Barcelona’s stadium. Because of this the president decided that this kit brought nothing but bad luck and the team returned to their all-white uniform.

Minor changes have been made to Real Madrid’s kit through the years. Buttons were added in the early 1940’s as well as the club’s crest on the left breast. In 1947 Real Madrid became the first team in Spain to wear numbered shirts.

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The club’s crest has also changed from the first design to what we know now. It started as a simple design that featured the club’s initials “MFC” in dark blue which after a few years evolved into a more streamlined design featuring the initials inside a circle. In 1920 King Alfonso XIII granted the club his royal patronage in the form of a title: Real Madrid. and the king’s crown was also added to the logo. During the civil war all the royal symbols were eliminated and the crown in the logo was removed and replaced by a dark mulberry band of the region of Castille. After the end of the war the crown was restored and the mulberry band was retained while also making the crest full color.

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