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Real Madrid revert back to talismanic purple shirt

Real Madrid’s second kit will be purple, a colour which has brought them good luck over the years, especially in the Champions League.

Vinicius, with the new Real Madrid away kit.

On Friday, Real Madrid revealed the team’s second kit for the 2022-23 season. It’s purple - a colour which is strongly linked to the club’s past, although rarely used in recent years - even though it seems to have brought the team a fair bit of success, especially in the Champions League. The design for next season, according to manufacturers Adidas, is inspired by the atmosphere inside the stadium before matches. A launch date has already been set - Madrid will wear their new purple kit for the time against Juventus in a pre-season friendly in Los Angeles on 30 July.

To model and promote the new shirt, Madrid elected four first team players: Vinicius, Militão, Kroos and Asensio. That Asensio was chosen comes as a bit of a surprise as he has just one year left on his contract and could leave the club this summer. His agent, Jorge Mendes, is already sounding out the market and looking for offers. Members of the women’s team, Teresa Abelleira, Esther and Nahikari were also involved in the promo shoot.

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Purple is a colour with a constant presence throughout the history of Madrid. It first appeared in the early 1980s, as trimming when the club signed with Adidas. Later Hummel took charge of the shirt, and maintained the colour in subtle details. The two UEFA Cups won in 1985 and 1986 date back to this entire period, as well as the 1981 European Cup final in Paris against Liverpool which Madrid lost 1-0.

Purple was also used in details (for the second strip, blue gained weight) in the kit worn for the five consecutive Leagues won by the Quinta del Buitre. And from 1994, with the entry of Kelme as the brand that Madrid wore, purple experienced a revival - appearing in the photos of two iconic Leagues titles: 1994-95 (the memorable 5-0 win against Barcelona at the Bernabéu) and 1996-97 (Capello’s side, beating Barcelona featuring a young, unstoppable Ronaldo Nazário). The kit Madrid wore when they won La Séptima in Amsterdam also had purple detailing while the second kit was entirely purple; wearing it, Los Blancos beat Bayer Leverkusen on their way to the semi-finals.

A purple cyclone devastated Juventus

With the beginning of the new century, purple fell into disuse, although it continued to be present in successes such as the 2007-08 League, which was won with an 18-point advantage over Barcelona; in the 2010-11 season, José Mourinho’s first on the bench, in which he won a Copa del Rey against Barça with special significance; and, above all, 2016-17, the year of the League-Champions League double in which Madrid had to play the UCL final against Juventus in purple, as the Italian team was designated as the local. Colour, once again, was talismanic: a 1-4 victory in Cardiff, with an exhibition in the second half that undid Allegri’s men, who between the group stage and the knockout stages had only conceded three goals; in the deciding match, they took four, hit by a purple cyclone.

Juventus-Real Madrid in the 2016-17 Champions League final.
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Juventus-Real Madrid in the 2016-17 Champions League final.David RamosGetty Images

In recent years, Real Madrid and Adidas have experimented when choosing the colour of the second kit, for reasons more linked to marketing than to the history of Madrid: black, coral pink, light green, orange and even pink. But for this 2022-23 season, in which Madrid must reaffirm all the successes achieved in the 2021-22 season (League-Champions double and a Spanish Super Cup as a bonus), purple returns, a talisman colour which brings good luck.


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