The best football shirts of all time | Top classic shirts

The best soccer jerseys will be remembered by fans for generations, but which are really the top of the pile?

Fans love to discuss their favorite shirts from bygone eras and throw out suggestions for the next classic look.

Still, categorizing a shirt as “the best ever” isn’t easy. After all, many shirts that might not be design classics still hold up because of the memories they conjure up.

Who can forget Ireland’s green jersey for the 1994 World Cup, the iconic black and white stripes of Juventus or the colorful displays of Sweden on the international stage?

Choosing the 10 best football shirts of all time isn’t easy. But we tried it out here at Radio Times! Do you agree with our top 10?

Arsenal Away Kit 1991-93 (GETTY)

10. Arsenal away – 1991-93

The first of two patterned shirts found in the 1990s, Arsenal’s yellow top for seasons 91/92 and 92/93 remains an instant classic to this day. English football was getting cooler and designers like adidas were looking to bring a more youthful touch to their jerseys.

And they certainly did it with a dark yellow Arsenal away jersey with faded black arrows and the iconic JVC sponsorship.

Arsenal did not win a final in this kit (they won the FA Cup and League Cup trophies in 1993 with their red home shirts). But this shirt isn’t about the success behind it. This is a street shirt. It helped transform soccer jerseys into athletic wear that could be worn away from games or the local park. It was the inspiration for Arsenal’s 2019/20 Away Kit, which is equally state of the art.

Best Holland 1988 Soccer Kits

The Netherlands 1988 World Cup Orange Kit (GETTY)

9. The Netherlands House – 1988

The Dutch always stand out at World Cups and European Championships thanks to the vibrant orange color of their home jerseys. Orange is iconic and their kits have sold worldwide because of it. But the best kit from the Netherlands is the one worn at Euro 1988, when Ronald Koeman and co. made their way to the title.

Ruud Gullit is the man who stands out in this Dutch shirt, with its cubist pattern and embroidered KNVB logo.

Best Liverpool football kits

Liverpool 2004 Home Shirt (GETTY)

8. Liverpool home – 2004/05

Now, including any design from the 2000s on a list of the “10 best soccer jerseys of all time” is, admittedly, controversial.

After all, this decade has managed to remove the worst design elements from 1990’s football shirts – namely the loose bag -, add ugly trims under the sleeves, and erase any cool feeling. The shirts looked cheap and tacky, while the shorts were over the knees.

But there were three standout kits during the 2000s. One was the Juventus home shirt in 2005, which featured a nice collar and center badge. The second is Arsenal’s 2002 home shirt, which Thierry Henry has made his own. And the third, which may come as a surprise, was Liverpool’s Champions League-winning jersey in the 2004/05 season.

The blood red shirt is emblematic of the heroic exploits of Steven Gerrard and co. reached in it. It had no shoulder pad, was fairly snug, and only had small, color-differentiated panels under the armpits, which for the mid-2000s was remarkable.

The best Celtic football kits

The Celtic kit from 1967 (GETTY)

7. Celtic House – 1967

Celtic became a household name across Europe when the club, led by manager Jock Stein, won the 1967 European Cup. They beat Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon, dressed in a gorgeous green and white jersey with hoops.

This kit screams’ 60s style, with its fitted shirt, high shorts and woolen socks. The shirt worn by Billy McNeill and his teammates wouldn’t look out of place with a suit jacket over it.

Since 1967 Celtic’s kits have ranged from great to worse (please don’t google the 1991 Celtic kit, it will burn your eyes). But nothing has ever come close to the simplicity of this delight of victory in the European Cup.

Best France football kits

France 1998 home shirt (GETTY)

6. France at home – 1998

France winning their World Cup at home in 1998 was seen as a catalyst for improving social relations between racial, economic and religious divisions across the country. And as France basked in the glory of their World Cup victory – spurred on by Zinedine Zidane’s fabulous performance in the final win over Brazil – kit fans were taking note.

This French home jersey is an immediate classic. It screams the 90s textile design with the cotton collar, the embroidered logo and the design printed on nylon. Police blocked for player numbers and names are screaming for nostalgia and they are fitting too.

The 2010s saw France and Nike try to reach the heights of this kit, but they failed.

The best Chelsea football kits

Chelsea 1970 FA Cup Home Shirt (GETTY)

5. Chelsea home – 1970

There has not been a more beautiful FA Cup final – in terms of kits at least – than the 1970 clash at Wembley between Chelsea and Leeds United. Both kits were so delicious that players conspired to draw the first game, so we could see everything in replay.

Leeds were forced to wear red socks so as not to clash with Chelsea – something White fans would be angry with today. Don Revie’s men wore their all-white shirts and socks as usual. But Chelsea’s kit was the real eye-catcher.

Chelsea’s dark blue jersey featured the club’s iconic embroidered lion badge, bold white numbers on the back and very little else. It went to Captain Ron Harris as if he had just stepped out of a tailor in Saville Row.

The best Brazil football kits

Brazil 1970 World Cup jersey (GETTY)

4. Brazil at home – 1970

Television was starting to take on color in 1970 when Brazil came to Mexico for the World Cup with their lovely yellow collared shirts with green borders. The golden generation of Brazilian football won the World Cup with Pele the star man.

And the jersey remains an iconic emblem of this Brazilian team to this day. Over the years the country has produced more striking shirts, but nothing comes close to this ’70 edition.

Best Germany football kits

Germany 1974 World Cup jersey (GETTY)

3. Residence in West Germany – 1965-78

Ignore the hair. West Germany was years ahead of Brazil when it produced what would be its iconic collarless shirt for the house in the mid-1960s. At this point, the football kits were just starting to gain in detail, but the simplicity of this design is why it remains such a classic look.

West Germany won their World Cup at home in 1974 with this jersey, Gerd Muller leading his country to victory. And the rise of the German football machine is synonymous with this classic white jersey with black trims.

Since then, the Germans have launched other amazing shirts (1988 is a style classic) and some disasters (let’s forget their 2000 edition).

Best Belgrade Red Star football kits

Belgrade Red Star Shirt 1991 (GETTY)

2. Home of Red Star Belgrade – 1991

There was a time when European club football was not dominated by clubs backed by billionaires from just five big national leagues. In 1991, Belgrade’s Red Star reached the European Cup final after beating Grasshopper, Rangers, Dresden and Bayern Munich in the round of 16.

And their iconic red and white striped shirt – complete with a layered collar and study collar – has become synonymous with the team. The PUMA kit also featured an extremely large Red Star badge that threatened to overlap with the stripe lines on the shirt chest.

It’s an exuberant shirt that always falls within the bounds of respectability – just like that Red Star team that scolded European football.

Best Nigeria soccer kits

Nigeria 2018 is the best soccer jersey ever (GETTY)

1. Nigeria at home – 2018

Never has there been more hype for a World Cup jersey than when Nike ditched the Nigeria design ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Fans lined up around the block on Oxford Street for get your hands on the new kit.

The shirt offered it all. An elegant cut, a good fit and a unique design. He borrowed patterned designs from the late ’80s and early’ 90s without just stenciling them. Importantly, it didn’t jump into the stereotype that many kit designers make for African nations at World Cups – there was no lazy color “vibrance”.

There have been three million pre-orders for Nigeria’s jersey even before the World Cup kicked off. Their away jersey was much less eye-catching – a deep bottle green with bright stitching on the badge – but that didn’t matter. It was the home shirt and it marked Nigeria as everyone’s second favorite in the 2018 World Cup.

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