11. Home, 2016-17
Straight in at No.11 is the splendid new home jersey.
A tribute to the club’s first European Cup win, on its 25th anniversary, the shirt’s design and lack of Qatari Airways sponsor makes it look eye-catchingly retro – it almost feels odd to see Neymar wearing it, rather than Hristo Stoichkov. Thankfully, it’s less shiny than the original’s ’70s disco shimmer.
10. Away, 1991-92
But will Barcelona bring back the strip in which they won that 1992 European Cup final? They should: it’s a classic, and no less iconic than the home shirt, thanks to the vivid image of a bowl-cut Ronald Koeman sprinting away after thumping home the winner in extra-time. Created by Barcelona brand Meyba, this burnt gold (OK, orange) kit entered football’s history books.
9. Home, 1960-61
The shirts worn by Barcelona in their first European Cup final appearance deserved better than a 3-2 defeat to Benfica. An understated design, V-neck collar and hand-stitched crest make the top a timeless classic – albeit one that’s bloody heavy to wear. Maybe get this one framed, rather than collapse of heat exhaustion on a sunny day’s kickabout.
8. Home, 2008-09
Apparently taking inspiration from Blackburn with the design of their kit, if not their football, Barcelona won pretty much everything in their first season under Pep Guardiola.
On their shirts, a half-and-half front offset its yellow touches, bringing Unicef’s logo to the fore – back when advertising a charity was seen as commendable, not naïve – and was so understated, it made their destruction of Manchester United in the Champions League final look simple (as opposed to two years later, when it just was simple).
7. Away, 1996-97
In with a bullet at No.7 is a Kappa change strip that wouldn’t win many style awards but came to represent Ronaldo’s only season at the club. That season he truly was a Phenomenon, and for that alone the shirt gained cachet among fans of a certain age. It’s certainly eye-catching.
6. Away, 1974-75
Speaking of legends in Barcelona change strips (seamless), this 1970s shirt is an altogether more attractive number that has the added appeal of having been worn by Johan Cruyff. We’re a sucker for a shirt sash at FFT: of all the ways Barcelona have attempted to incorporate their home colours into their away kit, this is one of the best.
5. Home, 2014-15
It’s all about that collar. The tribute to Los Cules’ Catalonian identity was perfect in its understatement, atop glorious, traditional Barcelona stripes.
Nike, always experimenting, don’t always hit the mark with their Barça kits: the decision last year to wear hoops instead of stripes for the first time in Los Cules’ history was bold but misguided, and 2012-13’s fade effect looked more like a PowerPoint presentation. This, though, was a classic of the genre.
4. Home, 1982-89
This is the strip that many people associate with Barcelona, perhaps because Diego Maradona wore it, perhaps because Barcelona themselves liked the kit so much they kept it for the best part of a decade.
The shirt’s texture, sleeve pattern and collar are all ace, thanks once again to kit-makers Meyba.
3. Home, 1998-99
The half-and-half centennial kit stripped things down to the bare facts: this is Barcelona; Barcelona wear blue and red; Barcelona are celebrating their 100th birthday (also, Nike make their kits).
Invasive swoosh aside, it’s a gorgeous football shirt, complete with black sleeves and a collar the size of a continent. And they won the league that season, which is nice.
2. Away, 2013-14
This was a big deal for Barcelona fans who’d spent years waiting for their club to stamp Catalonia’s red and yellow stripes firmly onto a kit. The 2013-14 away shirt did that, and then some.
It flew off the shelves, and not just due to political significance: the shirt looked great and also a world away from Barcelona’s home jersey, even though it technically shared 50 per cent of the colours.
1. Home, 1973-74
In the world of football kits, you don’t always get the perfect combination of great design with great significance (see No.7). But as with almost everything related to Johan Cruyff, sometimes the stars align.
This Barcelona shirt would be a worthy winner in its own right – it remains in football’s consciousness even now along with its striking armband – but it also clothed Cruyff in his first season at Camp Nou, where he’d go on to forever change the club and, indeed, football. He also scored his ‘impossible goal’ wearing it. He was Pythagoras in boots… and a seriously sexy top.
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