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Look good, play good: A look back at Juventus’ black and white stripes

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We hop back in the way back machine to hand some superlatives to the good, the bad and the pink in Juventus uniform history.

AS Roma v Juventus FC - Serie A Photo by New Press/Getty Images

You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good.

I think it was Socrates or Plato who said that. Or, like, Deion Sanders.

Regardless, that doesn’t make it any less true.

Colors and uniforms are one of the most important things in sports. They started as a necessity, to tell which players were on your team and which were not at a glance, but the most iconic ones have become intrinsically related and identified with the clubs they represent.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Inter, Liverpool and Chelsea are just some of the few clubs that have nicknames that are literally just the mention of the color on their shirts. (Los Blancos, Blaugranas, I Rossoneri, I Nerazzurri, Reds and Blues in case you were curious)

And of course, the Bianconeri.

Our beloved Juventus started wearing pink shirts in the early years. However, as the legend goes, an Englishman that played on the team was tasked with finding new uniforms and ordered new shirts from a friend back in England. This friend was a supporter of the local English club Notts County, who coincidentally played in black and white stripes.

Lo and behold, Juventus started wearing their now iconic look in 1903 and have not looked back.

One-hundred-fifteen years later, even though Juventus is not the only team that plays in black and white stripes in Italy, the colors have become inexorably linked to the club. It’s no coincidence that, as part of Juventus new branding campaign, they have made point of owning the traditional colors with slogans such as It’s a matter of black and white.

So, seeing as we are in the international break, and news are a bit scarce. Why not dedicate some time to the iconic uniforms that our club wears every Sunday?

We are going back in time, ten years to be exact, to take a look at all the kits that Juventus have worn and find some superlatives.

But first, some rules.

  • We are considering, home, away and third jerseys in the awards, as well as any goalkeeper jersey.
  • I’m not taking into account if Juventus had a particularly good or bad season while wearing the jersey, the jersey is the jersey.
  • EXCEPT when the jersey has the Coppa Italia and Scudetto badges from the previous season on it. I’m a sucker for those things.
  • Also, important, as a fan, would I use this jersey on the street? Using a jersey when there is a game is easy, but if the jersey looks cool as casual wear? That’s extra points.

We are doing 2008-2013 today and 2013-2018 in Part 2, which will run next week.

Also, we will not discuss every single jersey, we are talking superlatives only.

Without further ado, on to the awards!

The “Ol’ Reliable” Award

Winner: Home jersey for 2012-2013 season (Nike)

Cagliari Calcio v FC Juventus - Serie A Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

One of the purest distillations of what Juventus should look like. Appropriate number of stripes, a bit more black than white, simple cut. Also, this was the first time that Jeep served as the main jersey sponsor. As much as there is disagreement on whether Jeep is a good enough sponsor for Juve, it has been the sponsor for one of the most successful runs in club history, so it will always have a soft spot in my heart.

And hey, nothing wrong with playing the hits.

Fun fact: This is the shirt that started the whole “Sul Campo” controversy that ended up fracturing Juventus and Nike relationship. It was a very petty scandal back then and it kind of still is, but it would have been cool to see the “Sul Campo” legend on the shirt as it appeared in the version you could have bought online via Juve’s online store.

Real Madrid v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

The “Classy AF” Award

Winner: Away jersey for 2008-2009 season (Nike)

You’re going to have to excuse my millennial lingo, but that was the first thing I thought of when I saw this kit again. The gold looks clean and sharp. Pairing it with the black shorts gives it a timeless look.

2008-2009 saw the team trying to find their way back to their rightful place in the European elite after the Calciopoli scandal, qualifying for UCL play and somehow defeating Real Madrid twice in the group stage.

Juventus would still be a few years away from being considered true European giants again, but this year was a right step towards that direction. And they sure did it with a lot of style.

Juventus FC v FC Internazionale Milano - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The “National Pride” Award

Winner: One of two main goalkeeper jerseys for the 2010-2011 season (Nike)

I always enjoy when teams find a way to represent their home country in the kit. That goes double if the team is a traditional squad with deep-rooted history in the league and country.

Add to that, we are talking about Gianluigi Buffon — who is just as much of an Italian national team legend as he is with Juventus — and we have a great fit.

Gigi could have used the same kit, playing with Juventus and defending the goal with La Nazionale if he wanted. This kit looked that good.

The away jersey during same season had a similar motif, but used vertical lines in the middle of the jersey. It didn’t look bad, but I think the goalkeeper jersey was a better execution of the same idea, so it gets the nod here.

The “Really Popular with Women’s Rec League Teams in Mexico” Award

Winner: Away jersey for the 2011-2012 (Nike)

AC Siena v Juventus FC  - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

I have nothing against pink jerseys. I believe, when done right, they can be a bold, different look for a lot of squads.

This is not done right.

The pink tone they went with is too bright for my taste, but that could be salvageable if not for the weird, misplaced giant black star awkwardly plastered all over the kit. It’s a mess.

Not only that, but this was a pretty bad looking kit. As was the trend, they rolled this beauty over TWO seasons in a row, as it was used as the away jersey in 2011-2012 and then third kit a year later.

Look, Nike, I get wanting to make a bad design work by doubling down. I do, I truly do, so what if everyone says that it’s a terrible idea and you should let it go, you put time and effort into this and, after all, who does everyone think they are, telling you whether you should continue pursuing this doomed relationship after all? You can totally make it work, WHAT DO THEY KNOW?

Anyway, enough about my ex-girlfriend.

Snarky comments about a failed relationship aside, this kit was bad. But it weirdly became the Juventus jersey that I saw more often in my day-to-day life at the time because it gained a lot of popularity with women’s soccer teams in my native Mexico, where we take copyright laws as a suggestion more than a pesky “law. It wasn’t the best way of gaining more traction in international markets, but it did cause slightly more people to remember Juventus, even if it was by “Oh, so you root for the team with the weird pink jerseys?”

The “Best of the Bunch” Award

Winner: Away jersey for the 2013-2014 season (Nike)

UC Sampdoria v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Paraphrasing the immortal philosopher Harry Dunne here: Hey, Nike, just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any worse, you go and do something like this and totally redeem yourself!

In a stunning upset, the “Best of the Bunch” award goes to a jersey that is not black and white. After the pink jersey debacle and a pretty meh black jersey in the previous season, I had lost faith in Nike coming up with any remarkable away jersey for Juventus.

And then they released this gorgeous kit and it was all forgiven. The yellow jersey with the blue shorts are the perfect mix of traditional and a new look, the black and white details in the collar and sleeves, it really was put over the top. Add the Scudetto badge in the upper right part of the jersey, just above the Nike swoosh and you have a great kit.

In my opinion, the golden standard for away kits in the Nike era and a worthy winner of our “Best” in Part 1.