30 KITS FEATURES

30 KITS PART THREE: RANGE OF PARAGONS

Part three of the 30 Kits project goes from Mexico to Australia to Portugal.

REAL MADRID

AWAY / 2002-03
BY RYAN PLANT

The truth is that Ronaldo could make any kit look special. His speed, trickery and mastery of the ball, wearing his emblematic Nike boots, embellished every pitch he played on, team he played with and strip he wore.

But Real Madrid’s black Adidas away kit, worn by the Galácticos in the Brazilian’s first season at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, was exceptional in its own right – and not only because it was worn when they won a 29th LaLiga crown.

It is all black, which makes the stitched crest come to the fore, and the Siemens Mobile sponsor, new for that season, matches the colour scheme. On the left sleeve is a celebration of the club’s 100th birthday, and the pole-style buttoned collar gives it a domineering look. The empowering, serif font on the rear for names and numbers is a unique twist, too.

And in it, Ronaldo put in one of the finest individual performances in UEFA Champions League – scratch that, world football – history. In the second leg of the quarter-final stage against Manchester United at Old Trafford, he scored a hat-trick as Vicente Del Bosque’s side lost 4-3, which was enough to see them through to a semi-final clash with Juventus 6-5 on aggregate.

He opened the scoring with a crashing effort into Fabien Barthez’s near post after beating Rio Ferdinand to Guti’s through pass. For his second, he tapped home Roberto Carlos’ low cross to complete a sweeping attacking move instigated by Zinedine Zidane. But his third was undoubtedly the best of his trio.

After turning on Luís Figo’s pass 25 yards from goal, he shot into the top right corner, far from the clutches of Barthez, to the tune of stunned silence from the majority of the stadium – only the adulation of the relatively few travelling Real fans can be heard.

The sight of Ronaldo with his arms aloft at a stunned Old Trafford, with United fans in the Stretford End seen clapping in the background, is one of the indelible pictures of football history.

And in it, the world’s greatest striker is wearing the greatest away kit worn by the greatest club in the world.

Real Madrid

TIGRES

AWAY / 2018
BY RYE PAUL-MOOLLA

Labelled as the Team of the Decade in Mexico, Tigres have won 10 trophies including five league championships. The team has also been runners-up in four international competitions, including the 2015 Copa Libertadores and the 2016, 2017 and 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

Taking their status from an ‘equipo chico’ [small team] to the verge of being recognised as a ‘grande’. A team full of internationally known players, complemented with arguably the best foreign import in Mexican football history, André-Pierre Gignac, amongst their ranks, they have found success donning some incredible kits.

Latin American football shirts notoriously have every inch of their shirts covered in sponsorship. However, in this instance, they are not overpowering.

The 2017-2018 away shirt is a slight variation from traditional Tigres kits, which are defined by a band that uses a secondary colour. This shirt benefits from the modern twist on the classic Adidas design of the three stripes by placing them in the oblique area instead of the traditional position on the shoulders. The key feature of the jersey is the tiger silhouette, a design that evokes memories of the classic 1998 Mexican national team shirt.

The shirt debuted in the 2017 Apertura, a season that ended with Tigres achieving playoff success by beating city rivals Monterrey in the final. It was the first time the two sides had met in a final in Liga MX.

The jersey was not worn in either leg of the final and for that reason has been forgotten, but it played a part in Tigres winning a third consecutive Apertura championship, firmly establishing the team as the new power of Mexican football.

Tigres

AUSTRALIA

HOME / 1990-92
BY YOLI AGUILAR

One may often wonder why the colours of Australian kits are yellow-and-green when their flag isn’t. To clear all doubt: they are the national colours of Australia and are a predominant force on any of their national team’s kits.

The colours of the national flag – blue and red – have never had an influence on the kits of any national team. The wattle tree is popular in Australia and when blooming, their leaves turn golden-yellow, hence explaining their use in kits.

One of the most underrated Australian shirts is the one from 1990. It’s a bit strange in composition, and while it may divide opinion, the extravagant design makes it a unique outfit.

The design on the shirt is a bit unusual, but overall, the kit is a classic. However, this kit isn’t fondly remembered because the side didn’t achieve much in it. The national team failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1990, and it didn’t get the kit any international recognition.

At first glance, the shirt may not look very pleasant, but just paying a little more attention to detail, it can be noted how interesting it looks overall.

Although Australia have had plenty of strong kits over the years, as a collector of shirts, this one cannot be missed.

Australia

FC PORTO

HOME / 1999-00
BY RYLEY GRETTON

Whilst the 1999-00 season may have marked the first time in six years that Porto had not won the Portuguese league title, in this humble writer’s opinion they certainly had a kit worthy of it.

Despite not winning the league, they still won both the Taça de Portugal and Supertaça, with Brazilian phenom  Mário Jardel scoring a club-record 56 goals in the season, beating the previous record by 6 and one that still stands to this day.

There is quite simply nothing to dislike and everything to love about this simple yet thoroughly well-designed garment.

For starters, you have kit-manufacturing cool-kids Kappa in charge of the design and they never fail to disappoint, with their stunning logo adorning the sleeves of this shirt, and in a central position just above the badge as well.

The simple colour palette of blue and white is enhanced by the five vertical stripes of the two colours differentiating, with a small horizontal line of white across the middle of the shirt upon which sponsor, Revigres, sits.

Speaking of the sponsor, it isn’t one that seems out of place or outlandishly splayed across the middle of the shirt, it sits perfectly and fits the overall aesthetic of the shirt itself and is the same blue colour as appears on the rest of the shirt.

One feature that simply cannot be overlooked with this fantastic example of Kappa at its best with the kit design is the collar.

Featuring a small and subtle blue and white trim before falling into a dark blue ocean of colour, not only is this collar a beautiful coming together of colours but it is an open one, as opposed to being ruined by buttons or looping laces.

This is further enhanced by a slight difference in the material at the foot of the collar, this not only increases wearability but indeed the look of the shirt itself, making it easier to perform your best Eric Cantona impression.

This shirt is certainly a classic, and one that we hope by bringing to your attention, you’ll find to be a hidden gem.

Porto

HULL CITY

HOME / 2008-09
BY BRAD JONES

Following Hull City’s first-ever promotion to the top-flight in 2008, the club sought after a memorable kit representative of a memorable season; simple yet unique, eye-catching and iconic and this home kit ticked all of those boxes.

This trademark black and amber kit was on show in one of the most extraordinary post-promotion campaigns of the Premier League era. Phil Brown’s men won at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal and White Hart Lane against Tottenham in the space of a week courtesy of two goal of the season contenders from Geovanni.

The Tigers were in dreamland and found themselves joint top of the league after nine games, looking suave in their style of play as well as their style of kit in the process.

Two months later, the jersey was present once more for the infamous half-time team talk on the pitch at the City of Manchester Stadium, and the honeymoon period soon came to an end from then on.

Hull collected just eight points from 18 games in the turn of the year, but their beautiful kit was in all its glory once more as the strip was given a suitable send-off as the Tigers narrowly avoided relegation against Manchester United on the final day of the season.

A first top-flight campaign was memorable for so many reasons and will stick in the memory of Hull fans incessantly. Geovanni’s magical moments, Phil Brown’s notorious tirade and a befitting Umbro home shirt.

Hull City

LAZIO

HOME / 1999-00
BY JAKE SMALLEY

It may seem something of a strange choice to some as you could certainly make a case for a whole host different Serie A kits from this time period to make the cut, but this one is special for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it’s sponsored by a banana-selling company which is cool. Secondly, this kit was worn by a Lazio side that lifted the Scudetto for only the second time in their history. The side also won the Coppa Italia that season, beating an Inter side boasting Roberto Baggio, Ronaldo and Clarence Seedorf.

Continentally, they saw off Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble-winning Manchester United side to win the UEFA Super Cup with Juan Sebastián Verón netting the winner which many believe led to Ferguson paying a Premier League record fee to bring him to Old Trafford 12 months later.

The team that wore this jersey were something special in a time that Italian football boasted the best sides and best players. The side was coached by Sven-Göran Eriksson and boasted an all-star squad featuring the likes of Juventus legend and now director Pavel Nedvěd, Serbian icon Siniša Mihajlović, Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone and Chilean dynamo Marcelo Salas.

There are a lot more than listed above, but one thing’s for sure: this side were great, and they had some excellent names on their roster.

Enough about the team and more about the kit. The reason the kit is so nice is all in the gold trim and the magnificent collar. As Eric Cantona proved, a collar makes every shirt smarter and to have a gold edging on a kit just adds a touch of class.

One of the more stand-out features is how nice the numbering is. The font and size of the numbers are just aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Cool, numbers, Del Monte bananas backing them and a gold trim adding to a swaggy collar; no wonder they dominated that year!

Lazio