I received my latest Eurosport catalog earlier this week, one of the highlights of my mail for nearly two decades. How smart are the Eurosport folks? They locked down the URL soccer.com before anyone else. Flipping through the catalog and looking at the jerseys, I was inspired to post my take on the top five jerseys in European club football.
A note before I start the list: all the jerseys listed below are the team's home kits. For reasons I don't understand, European home jerseys are rich with tradition, but for the road versions, anything goes. Squads change looks on an annual basis, and some traveling selections leave you questioning the tastes of team management.
#5: Valencia: The shirts themselves are fairly standard- white with orange trim, the latter no doubt inspired by the local fruit export. What puts these jerseys among the best is the crest. How many other teams have something as cool as a bat perched on their kits? Not many. Inspired by the city's coat of arms, the presence of the bat gives "Los Che" an intimidating look.
#4: Liverpool and Chelsea: Separately neither of these two jerseys are standouts. But when they come together, as they have so often in recent Champions League matches, the contrast is perfect. Liverpool in all red; Chelsea in all blue. Nothing looks better on a European night.
#3: Barcelona: The FC Barcelona crest squeezes a lot of symbolism into a stylish design. According to the team web site, the crest "honours the sporting dimension of the club as well as its connection to its city and country." With the crest set on bold blue and burgundy shirts, the reigning European Champs have an umistakable look. Barca also deserve credit for forgoing corporate sponsors on their shirts and instead promoting UNICEF across the front.
#2: Inter Milan: My love of Inter Milan's kits dates back to an Absolut vodka ad that cleverly pitted Inter and AC Milan on a foosball table. (I was a fan of the ad campaign long before I could legally drink the vodka.) The black and blue in the Nerazzurri's jerseys represent the night and the sky. These colors work so well together, I'm surprised more teams don't go this route.
#1: Celtic: The best jerseys in sports are simple yet distinct; they're immediately recognizable like the New York Yankees pinstripes, the red, white and blue of the Montreal Canadiens, or the Los Angeles Lakers' regal purple and gold combo. Glasgow Celtic, with their classic green and white hoop shirts join that list. The Bhoys' shirts stand out around the world. Little has changed with Celtic's kits since their 1967 European Cup triumph, but the addition of the team crest with a four-leaf clover fits perfectly. As long as there's a Celtic Football Club, these jerseys will top my list.