5 beautiful kit matchups from past El Clasicos

El Clasico is a fundamentally beautiful rivalry thanks to two of the most iconic kits in history.

5 of the best kit matchups in El Clasico history

A selection of beautiful kits from previous El Clásicos

1. 1988/89

In 1988 Real Madrid sported a Hummel classic: clean, crisp, (80s) modern and stylish.

The bright white of the shirt making the fresh royal blue chevron trim on the sleeves really stand-out. The collar, really was of the age, a basic single-lined trim adding to the class. Finished with thin piping from shoulder to arm-pit and the “parmalat” sponsor it reeks of understated 1980s sophistication, befitting of a European giant.

The Barca kit of that season was one of contrast. Low on frills and still featuring a slightly 1970s shaped collar, the shirt is a reminder of how the colours of the Barcelona kit were always more important than stylish flourish. No shadow-pattern, a very subtle Meyba trim on the sleeves and, most importantly of all, no sponsor show that colours mean everything. Topped off with simple blue sleeve cuffs this is a simplistic delight.

The two kits really suggest where these two clubs were going at the time: Real Madrid, grandiose style-over-substance whilst Barcelona, slightly stuck in the past were clinging to their minimalist “club comes first” past.

by Alec - @GinnerWinna

2. 1994/95

Barcelona’s kit from the 1994 season is a thing of beauty.

The 2 timeless contrasting colours make up this shirt, with thick stripes of both colours running down it. It’s only added to by the lack of sponsor, keeping the focus purely on the shirt and the team at hand, something rare in modern football. The white trim on the outside of the shirt helps break up the stripes of the sleeve, all leading to the iconic black and white kappa logo running down the arms. Tasteful, slick, and clean. A wonderful kit for a wonderful team.

The Real Madrid kit, on the other hand, is less beautiful but still a great shirt. The archetypal white is a Real Madrid staple, but the blue sponsor breaks up the front of the shirt, which isn’t too criminal considering the colour matches the rest of the trimmings. The collar also looks sleek, with the blue and white stripes leading up the neck. However, the real downfall of the shirt is the Kelme logo running down the sleeves, with its paw print design making the shirt look childish and definitely a step down compared to the Kappa one seen on the Barcelona kit.

In this year at least, regardless of the results on the pitch, Barcelona definitely come out on top in the kit matchup.

by Apollo - @ApolloHeyes

3. 1996/97

The Spanish giants won a game each in the 1996/97 season, both winning their respective home fixtures.

The game in Madrid finished 2-0 in December, whilst the return fixture saw Ronaldo score the only goal in May. The kits of both sides were an absolute joy to behold.

Real were still in their famous ‘Teka’ sponsorship phase, a German company specialising in kitchen and bath products, and their kit was a striking number produced by Kelme, a Spanish sportswear company famous for their logo featuring a dog’s paw. Real’s kit was all white, featuring prominent purple taping down either sleeve and either side of the shorts in the form of the Kelme paw. Their away shirt definitely wasn't bad that year either.

Barca’s offering also featured taping, but the shirt itself was sponsor-free. The taping was typical of most Kappa shirts of the 90’s, with a block of navy placed underneath repeating red Kappa logos - the famous image of the man and woman sitting back to back. Also unique about this shirt was that the Kappa logo and the word ‘Barca’ was written very faintly, but repeatedly, all over the kit. A true beauty indeed.

by Chris - @chrissemple99

4. 2005/06

Real Madrid lined up at the Bernabeu in this fresh looking home shirt. The iconic white shirt was complemented with black sponsor, Adidas logo and stripes. The simplicity of it is what makes it beautiful. The sponsor doesn’t have the added word ‘mobile’ with the red ‘m’ that adorned the shirt the previous three seasons nor does it have the huge ‘Benq’ lettering occupying so much space on the following season’s shirt.

Barcelona also played in a stunningly simple shirt during the 2005/06 season. The iconic stripes were there in all their glory. There was no playing about with the thickness of the stripes as at happened in previous seasons. Despite the simple nature of the shirt there were still enough little design features to make it unique and stand out. The little yellow sections at the bottom of the shirt give a nice contrast of colour and the ‘Senyera’ on the collar is a nice nod to Barcelona’s history and heritage.

Yet, what I really love about the shirt is the lack of sponsor which to me, is what made Barcelona shirts memorable. The following season Barcelona broke with tradition and added to ‘Unicef’ to front of their shirts meaning that the above shirt was the last in their history to go full season without a sponsor.

That season, Barcelona may have come out on top on the football field, but in the battle for who wore the best kit, I just can’t pick a winner… in my opinion, Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 1.

by Pedro - @ThePedronator

5. 2016/17

It’s a simple act, holding up a shirt. Most of us do it every day.

But when Lionel Messi held up his shirt at the climax of El Clásico in 2017, the world bowed down in adoration. This was a gladiator stepping into the colosseum and emerging victorious, and the kits on that fateful day more than matched the occasion.

Let’s start with Barça.

This is a shirt sandwiched between two somewhat controversial efforts in 2015’s horizontal monstrosity and the gradient look of 2017/18. 2016 stands head and shoulders above both. Shadow stripes can be found within each strip of red and blue, which are just the right amount of thickness so that the crest and Nike logo sit perfectly.

If it all looked familiar, that’s because the kit drew inspiration from one of the greatest Barcelona shirts of all-time: the 1992 Meyba shirt. It was a superb nod to this classic shirt (the last made by Meyba), and an exception to what was otherwise a relatively uninspiring period for Nike.

In all of Real’s years with adidas, the majority of their shirts have featured the classic adi design feature of three stripes on the shoulders. The 2016 season however saw them opt for a side stripe look. It really worked, freeing up the top of the shirt and allowing the collar to ‘breathe’. Dark blue was a strong secondary colour too, preferable to other choices of colour in previous home kits like purple and orange.

Finally, it’s worth noting that this season was the last where Spanish clubs were allowed individual typefaces, unlike the universal set now used across La Liga. That will only add to the aura of both kits as time goes on.

by Phil - @phildelves

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