Over the course of football, we have been blessed to have seen some beautiful kits around the world. Whether it is a kit attached to an iconic moment, a special team or a great player, they attach themselves to our minds and remind us of the old times of football, maybe a favourite player or a childhood memory.
Also read: Best and worst kits of 2016/17 season
So whether they are an international kit from the 1980s, a modern day classic from a club side or just a simple design that has only grown in popularity over the years, here is a look at the top five football kits of all time.
#1 Netherlands (1988)
Any one of the Holland kits over the years could have been picked, including the iconic orange shirt and black shirts from World Cup 1974, worn by the Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels’ “Total Football” team, but the 1980s’ Adidas design shown above just pips the classic kit here.
With players like Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and captain Ruud Gullit wearing the shirt as they led the Netherlands to the European Championships in 1988, it was always going to go down in history as one of the greatest kits of all time.
As mentioned earlier, sometimes a kit can be attached to an iconic moment, and there is hardly a more iconic moment in the history of the European Championships than that van Basten volley in the final against the USSR to clinch the title for the Dutch.
But the kit on its own merit is beautiful. The instantly recognisable pattern and colour really make this kit stand out amongst the rest, and is even one of the most sought after kits online, selling for around £200 at times. It will cost even more with a number on the back, or if it’s signed by one of the legends.
#2 West Germany (1990)
The archrivals of the Dutch national team, Germany’s kit in Italia 1990 was almost as iconic, if not more so than the Dutch kit. The famous stripe across the chest of the shirt in the colours of the national flag of Germany, who at the time were still known as West Germany seeing as the Wall had not yet fallen in the country, gives the plain white shirt something else, because even without the stripe across the middle, it would still be a classic shirt.
Winning the World Cup is one thing, but winning it wearing this is something special, and the kit actually adds to the achievement in some way. A kit is always special when you can show it to fans and they instantly recognise it. Moreover, this also happens to be a very nostalgic kit.
When players like Rudi Voller, Jürgen Klinsmann, Andreas Brehme and Lothar Matthaus wear a shirt at the same time, you know you’re witnessing something special. They add to the shirt, and the shirt not only made them iconic, but it helped make Italia ’90 iconic and special.
The design, the old school original Adidas logo, and the players made this shirt so good and one of the greatest ever.
#3 Real Madrid (2001-2005)
When you think of great players of the early 2000s in Europe, you think of Raul, you think of Ronaldo, Luis Figo, David Beckham and of course Zinedine Zidane, and when you put all of them in one classic white Adidas kit, it looks like something from out of this world.
A subtle yet effective shirt, the Real Madrid shirt of the early 2000s will go down as one of the most beautiful shirts in European club football history, and the players that wore the shirt will only add to its value.
Whether it is the plain white Adidas shirt with black bold letters to display the names of the players, or the more recent white shirt sponsored by Siemens Mobile that also had the black and gold names on the back, the shirt is iconic. Both will be recognised as shirts that ooze class and really gives everyone the impression that Real Madrid is football royalty.
It was around this period that Madrid started to take their brand worldwide, and this shirt was a huge reason why Madrid were so huge across the globe. It will go down in history as a classy yet simple shirt and will always be instantly identifiable for years to come.
#4 Juventus (1985)
We all know that Italy usually is ahead of the curve when it comes to fashion, but when Juventus first wore their 1985 kit, it was a huge change in how football kits were worn in Europe.
A classy black and white striped shirt with Ariston across the front added to the image of Juventus at the time, and even to this day, everyone of a certain age will remember this kit for years to come. Be it the Italian flag on the heart or the Kappa logo on the opposite side, this kit is purely iconic and will forever be remembered as legendary.
Graced by some of the greats such as Michel Platini, Michael Laudrup and one of the greatest defenders of all time, Gaetano Scirea, this shirt is what Juventus is all about; iconic, classy, effective yet simple.
Not only that, but it was also at the time when Serie A ruled the world with Napoli, Inter, Milan and even Sampdoria having almost equally incredible kits.
This shirt has remained a staple for Juve’s kits because this one set the standard and remains to this day one of the greatest kits of all time.
#5 Barcelona (Any period)
When it comes to style, Barcelona has it. When it comes to class, Barcelona has it. When it comes to greatness, Barcelona has it, and all of this is shown throughout the history of their immediately identifiable shirt.
The blue and burgundy stripes have been around since the formation of the club, and have been a part of some of the greatest moments in modern football history.
Similar to Real Madrid, the kit is forever connected to the club and also connected to some of the greatest players of all time – Rivaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto’o and of course the two greatest in the history of the club, Lionel Messi and the godfather of Tika Taka, Johan Cruyff.
When so many legends have worn a shirt, it adds a certain amount of weight to the legacy of a kit.
Until the early 2010s, the shirt was void of a sponsor, which is why for so many years, it was loved. The lack of a sponsor made it unique and everyone loves a unique shirt, and much like the players on the field, the shirt has always been a cut above the rest. Simple yet unique, the kit follows in the Barcelona way.