Given that AC Milan consider all-white kits to be talismans in the European Cup and Champions League, it’s kind of fitting that there is an example of an all-black outfit being considered cursed.
As far back as the 1940s, Milan turned out in a black alternative jersey with red hoop (the opposite style was also available), but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that black shirts returned to the club’s wardrobe.
This was a period when manufacturers were realising the commercial potential of kits and black became a universally popular choice of change strip. For 1996-97, Lotto provided Milan with an all-black third strip trimmed in red (left) while there was a red fourth kit, too.
Black third kits began to regularly appear after that and when the club won the Serie A in 1999, they did so wearing a black adidas strip at Perugia.
The third shirt launched in the summer of 2011 was the club’s seventh year in a row having an all-black option and therefore didn’t raise any eyebrows.
With a need for kit-makers to find something new with each kit, the major flourish was the narrow Italian tricolour across the chest, appropriate given that it joined the Scudetto – the 2010-11 season remains the last time that the Rossoneri were champions.
However, when outings against Napoli and Lazio resulted in losses, a notion grew that the kit was somehow cursed and that feeling was reinforced as Milan almost threw away a four-goal lead against Arsenal in the Champions League, losing 3-0 in London wearing black.
They still progressed, but club CEO Adriano Galliani was convinced that the black strip was the cause of the near-disaster – this despite the fact that they had worn their home kit when they allowed Deportino La Coruña to stage a remarkable fightback in 2004, while of course the white strip was used in the 2005 final against Liverpool, when Milan lost on penalties after leading 3-0.
Nevertheless, Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport:
We will not wear that kit again. I tried everything in my powers in order to avoid that we would have to wear it against Arsenal, but the only alternative was playing nude.
That was the last time that we wore that outfit. We had a yellow kit for a few years, and will return to that colour.
Galliani was too late to stop the black third kit for 2012-13, but gold, yellow, green and grey respectively would be used over the next four seasons.
In October 2016, it was announced that Galliani would be leaving the club – whether the 2017-18 third kit had been decided by that stage, we don’t know, but when adidas’s final effort for the club did materialise, it was indeed all-black with red accents.
Of course, as mentioned by Mohammed in the comments, it too appeared in a defeat at the Emirates, Arsenal progressing when the sides met in the Europa League.
Since Puma took over the Milan contract in 2018, they have restored the previous tradition of black third strips, with the current one (left) part of a fine set this season.