It’s not unknown for manufacturers to look to the past with modern kit releases.
A lot of the adidas offerings at the 2018 World Cup, for example, referenced their own past designs, while a team honouring a particular kit of the past may see their current maker interpret the style of a different firm – take the 2019-20 West Ham United kit, for instance.
However, it’s rather unusual to see a firm employ a template across a number of their contracts which draws an immediate comparison with that of a rival, all the more so when it’s a look that’s almost two decades old. And yet, that seems to be the case with the new Puma style which is likely to be seen on the first-choice strips of its major clubs for 2021-22.
While side panels which continue along the arms are not a feature that could be said to belong to any one producer, the fact that these are cut off at an angle, with another strip of material immediately below them, gives a similar impression to the Nike design seen at the 2002 World Cup. As pointed out by Jay from Design Football, this means that the new Milan strip calls to mind Manchester United’s from 2002-04.
So, how close are they?
Milan will have black primary shorts and socks for 2021-22, so we have cheated slightly by putting it alongside the United kit with change shorts for comparison.
Obviously, the stripes of different widths on the Milan shirt act as a major differentiator while Puma don’t have the ‘shards’ emanating from the neck, either. The tighter fit of modern tops means that the panelling doesn’t stand out as much on the Milan kit either, but there is nevertheless a similarity.
Incidentally, Milan wear the Champions League ‘past winners’ patch on the left sleeve for domestic as well as European games and did so in debuting the new kit against Cagliari last Sunday. However, with Uefa altering the approach on that front for next season, it will be interesting to see if the Rossoneri have to make any change.