The evolution of adidas goalkeeper shirts, part 11

  • Thanks, as always, to The Glove Bag for assistance with research
  • The first ten parts of the series can be found here 

That’s it for now. Work has already started on Part 11, so hopefully we can start cutting down on the time between instalments.

It’s six and a half months since a younger, more optimstic writer penned those words in Part 10 of this series – it’s probably safer now not to expect Part 12 until after the Qatar World Cup.

Nevertheless, we are ready to move on from the last edition, which had gone up as far as the end of the 1996-97 period. We finished with Crystal Palace and Cork City, who had versions of the Oliver Kahn ‘goal-net’ style. Both subsequently progressed to a gingham pattern:

Another of the unusual variety was that used by Austrialia – it featured an adidas Questra ball as a meteorite through the constellations.


However, more common in 1997-98 was a style which featured the three stripes down the middle of the front of the sleeve and a strange pattern, resembling the skin of a rhinoceros.

The first sighting of it was in the 1997 Uefa Cup final, when Jens Lehmann of Schalke wore it as they beat Inter Milan, and he retained it for the following season.


In England Newcastle United’s Shay Given had a green version, but the Magpies also had an orange change shirt – as well as the stripes travelling higher, it had a swirling black pattern (no rhino-skin texture) with an off-centred sponsor to match their navy away shirt.

A black version would be used by Brazilian goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel after he joined Galatasaray and he also wore a version which appeared in the 1997-98 adidas goalkeeping catalogue under the model name Etrusco – the central design came from the 1990 World Cup ball, the Etrusco Unico.

Then, in 1998-99, after they rejoined forces with adidas, AC Milan had their own bespoke version.


It was used by Milan keepers Sebastiano Rossi and Christian Abbiati, the latter in his first season, as they won Serie A. However, 1998-99 was also the season of Jens Lehmann’s brief stay at San Siro – it wasn’t as happy as the Uefa Cup win there with Schalke and nor did he wear the same style of kit.

Instead, like his compatriot Oliver Kahn, Lehmann also had a ‘signature range’, in his case a modified version of one of the new 1998-99 designs, the Vader.


Newcastle also had the Vader, but in luminous yellow and navy. Real Madrid also used the same colour-scheme as Newcastle – as did others like Dynamo Kiev – while Bodo Illgner was seen in a black and silver iteration as well, in a season of a lot of goalkeeper kits for the club.



We had thought that that Newcastle shirt was used in every game in 1998-99 but, thanks to Philip Marriott, we know that another top was used at home to Southampton and against Partizan Belgrade (when it arguably clashed with their dark red and navy change kit).

Primarily purple, it featured one of the seahorses from the Newcastle crest rendered large on the body of the shirt. Though the stripes on the sleeves were purple, the kit’s shorts had white stripes.


The Vader didn’t appear at the 1998 World Cup and neither did another of the new designs, the Limelight. Real used it while Crystal Palace’s Kevin Miller wore both yellow and blue versions.



Instead, France 98 saw three of the new catalogue offerings used (oddly, there was also Saudi Arabia’s unofficial usage of a 1996 template).

There was the Save, which also doubled as the new Oliver Kahn signature range. At France 98, Argentina’s Carlos Roa had blue and black variants, though neither was really suitable alongside their navy away kit.



France’s Fabien Barthez premiered a white and black colourway when they played Spain in a friendly at the end of January 1998, the game where their new World Cup kit was first seen. He then used it for Monaco against Manchester United in the Champions League in March.



However, Barthez only wore the white shirt once at the World Cup, against South Africa, using two black styles in the other six games. Up to and including the quarter-final win over Italy, he was in a standard black shirt, a version of a design he had used for Monaco as far back as 1995-96.

Then, for the semi-final and final, he switched to a round-neck top with white piping.



Back to the Save – for Bayern, Kahn wore sky-blue and red (their home kit was primarily navy from 1998-2000).



For the 1999-2000 season, Uefa got a little stricter though and, for European games, Kahn had to cover over the signature.

Real Madrid had a nice navy/white version of the Save (as well as domestic and European navy away shirts) and Farid Mondragon of Real Zaragoza wore it in black and yellow, with the club’s away socks a perfect match. We’re unsure as to why the Spanish clubs had front numbers on their goalkeeper shirts, as they didn’t appear on the outfield versions.



Baleo was the name given to the model used by Romania, Spain and Yugoslavia, with three thick stripes down each side, similar to one of the company’s new outfield designs.

Andoni Zubizarreta wore dark green and very light blue in his final international appearances as they failed to get out of the group.



Ivica Kralj of Yugoslavia (and Romania’s Bogdan Stelea) had a lighter green.


The other new design was called the Arco and was employed by Germany goalkeeper Andreas Köpke. The light blue was also used by Illgner – retired from international football with four years – at Real, while the dark was another which Taffarel wore for Galatasaray.



Overall, the trend heading in the direction of restrained designs after the excesses of earlier in the decade and that was to continue, as we will see in Part 12.





13 comments on “The evolution of adidas goalkeeper shirts, part 11

  1. PM

    Great article. Denis- I’m not on twitter but I have original catalogues and a couple of prototype photos of Newcastle goalie kits from 98 so email me if you want me to scan these for you for the Newcastle article.

    Re the 97/8 Toon ones, they had another pair of shorts each too!

    I really like the Argentina change shirt from 98 in this article.

  2. Jon

    Excellent work as usual Denis. 1998 was seemingly a shift for Adidas as they toned down from the “in your face” designs, as well as bringing back the logo launched earlier in the decade (without the “Equipment” tagline) which has remained ever since.

    Mad to think that the one game Barthez wore the white kit was in a match where really, the referee should have made him get changed. Opponents South Africa wore a kit which was practically white, with black side panels and black/gold bars, so in my opinion it was a pretty bad clash.

    Carlos Roa’s “blue” jersey was actually purple, but totally agree that neither of his jerseys were suitable alongside the navy away kit… but between the two the purple one was marginally more distinguishable from navy than the black jersey was…

    I also could have sworn I seen an orange version of the “Baleo” jersey too, possibly worn by Ivica Kralj in the World Cup for Yugoslavia, but can’t find a picture of it

  3. Simon

    A little off topic, but whenever I see that white and black ‘Save’ shirt I remember a situation that appeared in a local division 4 game (Tier 6) that I went to around 2000.

    The home team are in red shirts, blue shorts and red socks whilst the away side are in their normal strip of black and white stripes with black shorts and socks. So far so good.

    When the teams come out the visiting goalkeeper walks onto the pitch in a white Save jersey, with his name and number 99 on the back, with black shorts and white socks.

    The normal procedure in the Swedish lower leagues at the time was that you had around 15 or 16 shirts from 2 and up with no names and the regulars wore their preferred shirt, so it was quite obvous that the ‘keeper had bought this one for himself.

    Anyway the referee spots the clash and orders the ‘keeper to change, which he refuses to do. One of the visiting players then shouts to the referee that their kit is more black than white and points to the home goalkeeper, who is in a black and grey Puma ‘Cell’ shirt, and says “So he has to change!”.

    The referee, also in black, agrees to this and the home team’s kit man has to run back to the dressing room and get the spare yellow and green Cell jersey out for his ‘keeper.

  4. Yoyo

    English : The dark green Adidas Baleo jersey was the jersey that Bernard Lama wore during the 1998 World Cup (we saw him during the presentation of the trophy after the final against Brazil won by the Blues 3-0) but used it only once during the World Cup. a friendly match against Austria which was the first post-World match for the world champions.

    French : Le maillot Adidas Baleo de couleur vert foncé était le maillot que portait Bernard Lama pendant la Coupe du monde 1998 (on le voyait pendant la remise du trophée après la finale contre le Brésil remportée par les Bleus 3-0) mais ne l’utilisait qu’une seule fois lors d’un match amical contre l’Autriche qui était le premier match post-Mondial pour les champions du monde.

  5. Andy

    Magnus Hedman wore the white version of the Save against England in a Euro 2000 qualifier (England wore red) and I think unused French sub Lionel Charbonnier was wearing a dark coloured version when he went on the pitch at the end of the 1998 World Cup final.


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