17 June 2009
Carlos Cristobal / Translation by Realmadrid.com
Real Madrid has undergone sweeping change over its 107 years of history. One of the ways that best reflects the evolution the club has undergone is the kit. Shirts, shorts, socks... all have changed with the times to become an iconic part of the history of Real Madrid.
Article 18 of the founding statutes of the club states, “the standard kit for ordinary matches will consist of dark, short and straight shorts, a white shirt and dark socks; for extraordinary matches it will consist of white shorts and shirt, black socks with circular stripes and a belt of our national colors.” The second option was eventually chosen for all matches, thus ending the first era of the world of football. Until then, players wore undergarments consisting of underpants and white shirt. Teams distinguished one another by stripes across the chest that were red and blue, the same used by Basque jai alai players, and that were easily removable. As the senior team among Madrileños, Real Madrid chose to dress in solid white, a tradition that continues 107 years later.
Real Madrid has maintained the white shirt for its home kit throughout the history of the club. There was however one season that the shirt and shorts were not both white. It was an initiative undertaken by Ecobal and Quesada in 1925/26. The two were traveling through England when they noticed the kit worn by London-based team Corinthians, one of the most famous teams at the time known for its elegance and sportsmanship. It was decided that Real Madrid would wear black shorts in an attempt to look like the English team, but the initiative lasted only one year. After being eliminated from the Copa by Barcelona with a 1-5 defeat in Madrid and a 2-0 defeat in Catalonia, President Parages decided to return to an all-white kit claiming that the other brought bad luck. Years later, Leeds United switched their blue shirt for a white one after marveling at Real Madrid’s 7-3 Victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in Glasgow’s Hampden Park.
It wasn’t until 1952 that the team began using an away kit on a regular basis. Up until then, Real Madrid tended to wear a shirt of different shades of blue with either white or dark blue shorts. The model has changed many times since the away kit was put into frequent use. They have primarily been either blue or purple, but they have also been black –such as that worn in the 2000 Champions League final- and even red. The latter was worn on two occasions; the first in Cardiff in 1971 and the second in Odessa in 1973. In 1997 teams began keeping a third kit on hand. In 2001, Real Madrid played wearing a greyish shirt, while four years earlier the shirt was divided into four quadrants with a white and purple combination.
The major evolution took place in the 1980’s, when short sleeves were used during the summer months and brands and sponsors found their way onto shirts as an added source of income for clubs. Cotton gave way to synthetics to provide players with more comfort. The quest for comfort hasn’t slowed, and now shirts are made from ClimaLite materials that provide cool comfort and quick evaporation.
Football shirts have always been subjected to constant changes and Real Madrid’s has been no exception.
Real Madrid’s kit was initially all white save for the belt, which had the colours of the Spanish flag, and black tights. The first change was made two years after the Club’s foundation; the symbol of Madrid was added to the crest’s superimposed MFC. The kit didn’t change until 1911, year in which the Spanish flag disappeared and the tights became blue. Knots were added to the collar in 1914 and there was no great change again until 1925, when the shorts were turned black as tribute to English side Corinthians and the crest received the royal crown.
1930s & 1940s
The Third Republic came into power in 1931. The crest was deprived of the royal crown and the MFC in the crest was superimposed the way it still is today. The purple sash that crosses the crest was also added. The crest received the royal crown again in 1942, three years after the end of the Civil War.
The collar lost its knots in 1952, becoming circular. This was the shirt that was worn by legends such as Alfredo di Stefano, Gento and Ferenc Puskas. The tights were changed to white in 1955 and the possibility of wearing either a circular collar or a pointed one was introduced.
Synthetic materials replaced cotton and sponsors were first shown on the shirts. Adidas was the first sports brand to dress Real Madrid in 1980 and Zanussi became the team’s first sponsor in 1982. Tight shirts and very short pants ruled throughout the decade, during which Parmalat and Reny Picot also sponsored the team. Hummel designed the kit from 1985 onwards.
The decade saw few changes. Kelme designed the 1994 shirt. Pants grew longer.
Adidas designed the kit for the 1998/99 campaign, introducing yellow (1999) and grey (2000, 2006) to some of their designs. The shirt became spotless white in 2002 during the Club’s centenary. A special crest distinguishing Real Madrid as the Best Club of the 20th Century was added to the 2006 shirt.