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You might have seen recently that Spain defender Gerard Piqué has announced that he will retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup.

The Barcelona defender will only be 31 by that stage but the reason given is that the abuse given to him after the recent World Cup qualifier against Albania was too much to take. Basically, Spain have changed their away shirts and the new version has red and yellow striping at the bottom of the short-sleeved version – just striping, not the national flag, as has been reported elsewhere – but because Piqué took a scissors to his long-sleeved shirt, it looked like he was renouncing Spain.

Our friend Jay from DesignFootball.com has blogged about the sleeves issue in his usual excellent, witty way so, rather than stepping on his toes, we’ll focus on what we feel is a missed opportunity.

In a piece prior to Euro 2016 evaluating the best and worst kits for The Irish Examiner, we said the following about Spain’s home and away:

‘Stunning’ is a word one could apply to both of the holders’ kits, though using two very different meanings of the word. The home is a classic, with blue shorts and black socks used for the first time in more than 20 years – squint your eyes and you can almost see Emilio Butragueño and Michel.

Adidas have moved their three stripes on the kits of their top-level countries, as the rules on sleeve patches demand that a blank space be left and this was curtailing the famous trademark. The yellow stripes link the red shirt and blue shorts well.

The away is eye-catching and calls to mind the kits worn by the USSR and Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup, when geometric patterns were all the rage. The whole look may not appeal to the purists, but it’s a Marmite kit but we fall down on the ‘love’ side.

Sadly for Spain, the away proved to be quite the unlucky charm, as they lost to both Croatia and Italy at the European Championship while wearing it. While it has been reported that the change to the new, plainer, change shirt is down to FIFA, it’s hardly likely to cause any clashing issues and it could just be that they think it’s cursed.

The new offering is fine, but feels quite dull. It’s the same cut as the home but without the triangular fabric pattern. While the obvious absence of the red and yellow from the torso differentiates it from its short-lived predecessor, it still shares the same red adidas stripes and the shorts and socks.

spainaway2017.png

If it were up to us, we’d have gone back in time. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Spain would have white ‘tournament aways’, i.e. where countries were required to have one dark kit and one light one, but then would opt for blue alternatives in ‘ordinary’ time.

Here’s how such an approach would look with the new design. We’d love to have seen it become reality.

Spainaway2.png

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