In 1998, Real Madrid returned to adidas after more than a decade away, having had their kits made by Hummel and Kelme in between.
Having gone as safe as they could with the home kit while incorporating the three stripes, adidas jazzed things up slightly with the navy change strip, which featured horizontal white stripes of varying thickness.
Having won the Champions League the previous season – the club’s first time to win Europe’s main prize since 1966 – the club finished second in their group, a point behind Internazionale.
That meant a quarter-final tie with Dynamo Kiev, who had topped Arsenal’s group. After a 1-1 draw in Madrid, Real – now under the management of John Toshack, who had replaced Guus Hiddink – wore a new kit in Ukraine. Oddly, it was also navy, but it featured gold trim and the horizontal stripes were absent.
Had it always been the designated European away kit? If so, why not have a European home strip too? Or did Uefa’s pedantry decide that the normal away had too much white and therefore clashed with Dynamo?
Sadder still, the smart-looking kit is associated with failure, as Real lost 2-0.
Incidentall, there was a third navy shirt worn by the club that season – goalkeeper Bodo Illgner often used this top, featuring three larger horizontal stripes, with the away shorts and home socks.
It was one of six different shirts used by the club’s custodians that season.