The Evolution of the Barcelona Jersey

Futbol Club Barcelona was founded in 1899 by soccer pioneer Joan Gamper who placed an ad in a local paper and garnered the attention of 11 other enthusiasts. The club has since transformed into the second most valuable football organization in the world and is one of the most popular clubs around the globe.

Barcelona History

From their beginning, Barcelona has enjoyed success in the highest level football league in Spain – La Liga. Along the way, their trophy case has become quite packed as well. In addition to 24 La Liga title wins (most recently in 2015-2016, and second only to rival club Real Madrid), Barcelona has nabbed 29 Copa del Rey championships and several Champions League Titles (most recently in 2014-2015).

Since this club has been around for over a century, its jerseys have understandably transformed throughout the decades. As you can imagine, Barcelona’s current star, Lionel Messi, doesn’t wear the uniform that players such as Paulino Alcántara donned in the early 20th century. However, the one constant feature has been the kit colors: blue and claret – a deep purplish-red color.

Read on to see the Barcelona kit changes that have taken place over time, in addition to how the club’s blue and claret stripes have evolved yet remained so starkly similar.

Barcelona Beginnings

1899: The first Barcelona jersey in 1899 is simple with stripes and a standard collar. It is comprised of four thick, alternating blue and claret stripes: one on each sleeve and two on the main body. Carles Comamala – a prolific goalscorer – is one of the players from these early days, replacing Barcelona founder, Gamper, when he retires from the field.

1920s: Barcelona adds a tie closure to the jersey’s neck, memorably sported by players such as Ramon Torralba Larraz – a 14-season legend. The kit also features more alternating stripes than previous versions, with several on the sleeves and body. The stripes on the primary section of the jersey remain similar today, despite a few variances.  

1925: The standard collars are replaced by a slight crew neck design, hence eliminating the tie closures, which do not make any future appearances on the Barcelona kit.

1969: The crew neck collar will remain a staple of the blue and claret jersey throughout many decades, dozens of players, and multiple seasons. In the late ’60s, the standard collar makes a comeback, and one player, Francisco Fernández “Gallego,” dons the kit proudly on his way through 11 seasons with Barça.

1982: Standard collars remain on the ’80s kits. Javier González Urruticoechea – a key player in the 1984-1985 season – is one player who not only sports the jersey but also gains the adoration of fans due to his charisma and monumental save that ensures Barcelona a league victory with four matches to go.

2000: At the turn of the century, a blast to the past occurs, with two thick stripes on the main body (one of each color) and solid dark blue sleeves. Vitor Borba Ferreira “Rivaldo” plays during this apparel shift and racks up goals despite not being a straight striker.

2002: The uniforms feature the previous thinner stripes and a brighter red compared to the old claret. However, this doesn’t last long. In 2007, the color returns to a deeper reddish-purple. Samuel Eto’o is a player for Barcelona who wears the brighter red jersey while being the league’s top scorer for the 2004-2005 season.

2013: Barcelona’s kit continues to evolve with a single red stripe down the center, flanked by blue sleeves. In 2015, Lionel Messi is seen in another kit design, featuring a subtle reversal of the classic blue and claret combo.

2016: The jersey appears more similar to previous versions, consisting of the standard blue stripe bordered by reds, then lined with blue sides and sleeves.

Whether you hope to catch Barcelona this upcoming season at Camp Nou or are rooting for them from the comfort of your home, you can grab your own Barça jersey at Fanatics.com.

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Champions League: Teams and Their Countries

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Champions League Overview

The Champions League is the ultimate soccer competition. Orchestrated by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Champions League pits the champions of domestic leagues and other qualifiers against one another in a grand annual tournament. Some of the most popular teams from the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 compete for eternal glory on the biggest stage.

Here’s all you need to know to be the most well-versed “football” hipster now that the European version is the only kind available until August.

They Like to Score

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No team has scored more goals in the history of the Champions League – rebranded as such from the European Cup in 1992 – than Real Madrid. The team has scored close to 900 goals in pursuit of European and Champions League honors. In their current campaign, the Madridistas count on the scoring power of Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Welsh forward Gareth Bale.

German side Bayern Munich and Spanish side FC Barcelona both trail significantly behind the Galácticos of Real Madrid. They’ve each scored around 300 fewer goals in total, even equipped with strong players in their attacking roles. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller help lead the line for the German giants, while MSN – Messi, Suárez, and Neymar – drive defenders crazy for Barça’s benefit.

In fourth place, with close to 500 goals, is Manchester United, the highest-scoring English side and the only one in the top five spots. The team will have to wait another year for their chance to add to this tally, though, as the Red Devils failed to qualify for the Champions League due to their subpar performance last season.

Countries With the Biggest Trophy Cases

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Between the European Cup and Champions League, Spanish clubs have produced the most success in winning the yearly competition. However, just two Spanish clubs share this success of over 16 titles: FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. While English clubs haven’t seen the same volume of success that Spanish sides have, more teams have had a chance to wrap their collective hands around the trophy.

Liverpool (5 titles), Manchester United (3 titles), Nottingham Forest (2 titles), Aston Villa (1 title), and Chelsea (1 title) have all won either the European Cup or Champions League. In the 2017 campaign, Arsenal, Leicester City, and Manchester City are the three English sides with a chance to claim Champions League glory. If they could win the cup, it would be the first time for any of these clubs to earn such an honor.

Where Winners Are Born

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In the first decade of the European Cup, Real Madrid claimed the top prize five times in a row. They then shared this honor with two Italian sides, AC Milan and Inter Milan, and one Portuguese side, Benfica. These were the only sides that won the right to be called European champions in the 1950s and early 1960s.

The 1970s saw the Spanish and Italian sides moved aside for teams hailing from England, Germany, and the Netherlands. There were also instances of back-to-back winners, with Ajax winning in ’71, ’72, and ’73. Bayern Munich would win in ’74, ’75, and ’76, while Liverpool would do a double in ’77 and ’78.

More recently, there has been a return to Spanish dominance, as Real Madrid and Barcelona have won the last three Champions League trophies.

Quest to Be the Best

Who will win the Champions League this year? Will it be a newcomer or a perennial favorite? Whichever team you’re rooting for, show everyone where your allegiance lies with officially licensed merchandise and apparel from Fanatics.

Hitting the Back of the Net in the Champions League

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Champions League Top Scorers

While it’s not America’s most popular sport, soccer commands the attention of the rest of the world as the “Beautiful Game.” No competition pits so many of the best teams and players against each other than the Champions League. Hosted by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Champions League is a multi-tiered competition involving group and knockout stages. The final, a last 90-minute outing between the two best teams, actually draws more eyeballs than the Big Game in the NFL!

While it takes a team to make it to the final game or to win the competition, individual brilliance is appreciated. Here are the names of the clubs and players you need to know, both from years past and some of today’s starting XIs, when it comes to slotting the ball into the net in the Champions League.

Golden Boots

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Even under the bright lights of some of the world’s biggest sporting competitions, singular players can shine by scoring goals. No one player has scored more goals than Real Madrid’s striker Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward is closing in on the century mark, a feat no other player has accomplished in the Champions League. However, he isn’t alone in making this climb.

The other household name player Lionel Messi sits only three goals behind Ronaldo. The FC Barcelona forward and Argentinian footballing prodigy continues to keep pace with his peers. In fact, these two players have each won the most coveted award in soccer, the FIFA Ballon d’Or, multiple times. Essentially soccer’s most valuable player award, Ronaldo and Messi are the only two to win the award over the last nine years.

It’s not just strikers from La Liga who have won the award – several of the best strikers in the Premier League’s biggest clubs have made their mark in the Champions League as well. Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry scored over 50 goals, seven more than former crosstown rival Didier Drogba, who scored 44 goals for Chelsea.

Target Practice

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While every goal counts the same, certain teams have a propensity to score more frequently from different locations on the pitch. Two clubs, La Liga giant FC Barcelona and the beloved Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, most frequently score inside the area. Each of these clubs has scored 18 goals in the 2016 Champions League Group Stage matches from this location.

Three clubs have specialized in scoring from outside the area with Juventus’ Bianconeri leading the charge. They boast two of the Serie A’s most dynamic strikers, Gonzalo Higuaín and Paulo Dybala, who are both capable of netting a worldie.

When it comes to penalties, several teams have shown success in converting their chances. One of these is the Bundesliga’s champions-elect Bayern Munich. While the club converted two penalty attempts this season, they know just how important these chances are – just ask those Bayern players who lost to Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final on penalties.

Weapon of Choice

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While there are many locations to score goals from, there are also a few options a player may use to send that ball into the net. Whether they’re using their head or their weak or strong foot, each goal is crucial to advancing in the tournament. No one has scored more goals with their left foot in the 2016 Champions League than Lionel Messi.

However, behind him is Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian winger was part of Leicester City’s unprecedented Premier League title victory in the 2015-16 season and has been a key figure in their advancement to the round of 16 in the Champions League.

Edinson Cavani doesn’t just specialize with his right foot – which has helped him score four goals for Paris Saint-Germain – he’s also got a good head on his shoulders. The Uruguayan forward has sent two goals into the net with the use of his noggin, matching the efforts of other star players like S.S.C. Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik or Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema.

Taking Their Shot

Whether your favorite team plays in England, France, Germany, or Spain, there’s no denying the quality of competition in the Champions League. Cheer on your favorite side with the best officially licensed club merchandise and apparel at Fanatics.

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Running Wild in the Champions League

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Champions League Runaways

Fans may cover larger distances to see their team play in a Champions League match, but players traverse many meters (or kilometers) themselves during matches. While they don’t earn frequent flier miles or spend 90 minutes in first class, they’re counting on their legs – and not the captain or crew – to deliver a Champions League medal.

While the pace isn’t everything, it’s worth recognizing the importance of a fit side, capable of keeping up the intensity for sustained periods of play. Which players vying for Champions League glory this season have logged the most miles? Who has covered the most distance? Continue reading to see which wing-footed footballers cover every blade of grass two or three times per match.

Counting Their Steps

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In the six matches played in the Champions League group stages, no individual covered more ground than Aleksandr Gatskan. The Moldovan midfielder plays for FC Rostov and played 540 minutes (not including stoppage time) of the team’s group stage matches against Atlético Madrid, FC Bayern Munich, and PSV Eindhoven. While Gatskan didn’t score any goals, it’s possible his efforts to cover over 71,000 meters in six games helped his side upset the German giants of Bayern 3-2.

Three players for Atlético Madrid make the top 10 in total distance – Gabi, Koke, and Antoine Griezmann. Two midfielders and a forward covered over 210,000 meters combined, which is 210 kilometers or over 130 miles. These “Los Rojiblancos” certainly turn heads as they continue to motor around the pitch.

Meaningful Minutes

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While midfielders and attackers have to cover plenty of ground, don’t forget there are plenty of defenders responsible for being engaged in both phases of the game. Patrice Evra, a key defender for Juventus, only played 500 minutes but managed to log over 54,000 meters.

Some of the game’s biggest names, especially in the group stages, don’t play as many minutes as fans might like but still cover ridiculous distances. Take MSN – Messi, Suárez, and Neymar – the attacking trio for FC Barcelona. Lionel “Leo” Messi covered just shy of 40,000 meters in 450 minutes of play. Luis Suárez managed to cover over 46,000 meters in the same amount of time, while Neymar managed over 47,000 meters in less than 440 minutes.

Track on Field

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When it comes to the speed at which this distance is covered, it’s a photo finish at over 140 meters per minute. No other men cover as many meters per minute as Atlético Madrid’s Saúl Ñíguez and Real Madrid’s Lucas Vázquez. These two players offer their clubs extreme versatility due to their pace and ability to play in multiple spots. As such, they get the opportunity to do the dirty work and track forward and back throughout the game.

Tracking Back

Leave covering every blade of grass on the pitch to the players. Cover up for the matches in your team’s crest and colors with Fanatics, where you’re able to find the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel for every Champions League side.