About Classic Football Shirts
Starting from humble beginnings in 2006, Classic Football Shirts now has more than 1,000,000 football-related items in stock, focusing on shirts from the 1970s up to the present day from teams around the world.
Through our website and our two retail stores in London and Manchester, we offer an unrivaled range of products to our worldwide customer base.
We've just relocated our flagship store in London to Commercial Street, E1. With more than 1,000 shirts from teams around the globe in stock at any one time, Classic Football Shirts London is firmly established as the go-to location for football fans visiting the capital since we opened our first store in 2018.
Cafe supervisor (F/T) (Ref: 1003)
New to our Commercial Street store and our retail operation is a cafe, where we plan to host football-related events and serve customers with a range of beverages and light snacks, along with beers in the future.
You’ll be central to the opening of the cafe and setting up the operation, helping define systems and procedures as well as providing the best hospitality for our first guests.
This is a fantastic opportunity for a skilled and motivated team player, who is excited about growing with the company and willing to take on responsibilities and autonomy.
We have big plans for this venture, which we hope to use to host a number of evening events and we are looking for the right person to lead this under the supervision of the store managers.
- Ensuring the coffee shop runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis
- Maintaining standards
of quality control and best practice with food and drinks
- Creating and maintaining a great atmosphere
- Completing cleaning duties
- Ongoing training and development as required and delivering training and on-boarding to staff members
- Delivering exceptional customer service; processing a till, handling cash
- To undertake any other tasks assigned by store supervisors and store managers
We are looking for candidates with:
- At least one year's experience in a cafe/coffee shop environment
- Barista skills - you need to know how to make coffee
- An outgoing personality, ensuring the Classic Football Shirts cafe is as welcoming as our retail store is to customers
- A strong interest and knowledge of football - that's what your customers will want to talk about
- The ability to work under their own initiative – there’s always something to do
- 38-40 hours a week (five shifts a week) including weekends according to the rota
- 2-3 weekends a month to be worked
- Initial hours will be Monday to Saturday 10.15am to 7pm and Sunday 10.15am to 5pm but this could change on the success of the cafe
- Staff discount on Classic Football Shirt items upon passing probation
- Eligibility for bonus scheme upon passing probation
- Salary disclosed on invitation to interview
How to apply:
Please send your CV and a covering letter to :
ciaran (at) classicfootballshirts (dot) co (dot) uk
Including Ref 1003 in the email subject. Applications without a CV and covering letter will not be considered.
You must have the right to work in the UK for this position and any offer of employment will be conditional until these checks have been made.
- UK nationals must have a passport
- EU, EEZ and Swiss citizens will need a settlement code
The closing date is Sept 1 at 5pm but will be contacting and interviewing candidates as applications are received.
If you have not heard back from us within 14 days, please assume your application has been unsuccessful. Due to the expected large volume of applications, we will not be able to give individual feedback on why your application did not progress.
Classic Football Shirts London
The Classic Football Shirt London store is moving to a unit three times bigger - with a cafe and events area among a number of exciting additions.
Sunday, August 9 will be the final day of trading at our current location in the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch before opening at 17 Commercial Street on Monday, August 16.
“We’ve had three brilliant years in our Dray Walk store, way beyond our initial expectations as a pop-up in the aftermath of the 2018 World Cup,” said Ciaran Gold, head of retail for CFS.
“Our loyal online customers persuaded us to keep it on permanently and now we are in the position to level up the Classic Football Shirts retail experience in London once more."
Player Profile - Gabriel Batistuta
Nostalgia is a strange emotion. It could be a source of warmth and comfort. It’s the taste of certain food, the hum of a certain city, the sound of a certain song. Yet nostalgia also implies these are things largely lost to you, if not entirely gone. Nostalgia is the longing for things you can no longer possess.
Few things can evoke nostalgia like football. It’s a sport often wrapped up with life’s milestones and family ties. The first World Cup you remember; the first game you go to, with parents or siblings; Your first football shirt; the first time you realise you’re hooked and share a kinship with all the fellow fanatics in such disparate places as Bunoes Aires and Florence. It’s the first upturned collar, the first bullet header, the first slide tackle and the first shot from 30 yards. Yet seasons pass and players move on and retire. They’re replaced by new players, maybe even better players, but the memories of those ‘firsts’ remain.
Ask people in their late 20s to early 30s to name the first player who represents that nostalgia, and one name will appear more often than. He was a man who encapsulated the joy of the game, whilst also embracing qualities which we seem to be losing in the 2020s. That man is of course Gabriel Batistuta, the alice-banded striker who stared for Argentina, Roma and most famously and romantically, Fiorentina.
‘Batigol’, as he came to be known, was a bustling and charismatic player capable of scoring every type of goal imaginable. Placed finishes, headers, bicycle-kicks, volleys, free kicks and thunderous drives from outside the area were all part of the repertoire of the man from Santa Fe. Fast and powerful with excellent movement, he was inspired by Argentine World Cup winner Mario Kempes to take up the game as a youth.
He was discovered and molded by his first coach, Marcelo Bielsa, at Newell’s Old Boys. Despite being home sick and not an immediate success, he exhibited the grit and determination which was the foundation for his career. Finally fulfilling his potential, he was picked up by River Plate, before moving across the great divide in Buenos Aires, to Boca Juniors. With River he won a league title; with Boca he became prolific, hitting double figures for the first time in his career.
Then came a move to Florence. The city is relatively unique in Italian football; home to only one club, it’s fan base is notoriously passionate even by Italian standards. Similarly unique is the bright purple kits the team wear, in their home stadium, the distinctive Stadio Artemio Franchi. It’s little wonder that La Viola became a cult team as the 90s marched on.
Yet things weren’t easy at first for Batistuta. Although he himself was prolific from the off, the club was in a semi-permanent state of chaos and found themselves relegated to Serie B. Displaying an admirable loyalty, he remained, and helped the club regain promotion under the guidance of Claudio Ranieri. This loyalty solidified the bond between the Argentine and the people of Florence. By this stage he had already made his debut for the Argentine national team, winning the Coppa America in 1991 and adding to it in 1993.
Back in Serie A, Fiorentina began to rebuild. Added to Batistuta’s lethal finishing was the superlative playmaking skills of Rui Costa. Costa is not quite as lauded as Batistuta when people look back over the Fiorentina team of the 90s, yet he was an elegant and versatile midfielder who combined beautifully with ‘Batigol’. In only their second season back in Serie A, the side finished 4th and won the Coppa Italia. The emergence of Francisco Toldo, let go by Milan, as a goalkeeper of international quality further solidified the side as a major threat both domestically and on the continent.
Serie A in the mid-90s to the early 2000s was arguably the most competitive league seen in the modern age. It was the era of ‘Le settesorelle- ‘the seven sisters’. Juventus, Inter, Milan, Parma, Lazio, Roma and Fiorentina all had legitimate title aspirations at the start of a season. The league contained such attacking talent as Roberto Baggio, Alex Del Piero, Zinedine Zidane, Francesco Totti, Ronaldo, Hernan Crespo, Juan Veron, Andiry Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi, Christian Vieri and Pavel Nedved. Yet despite the competition, Batistuta was consistently amongst the top scorers in the division. Sporting his trademark long hair, upturned collar, long sleeves embellished by a captain’s armband and with effervescent goal celebrations, he became the icon for Fiorentina’s title pushes. Not only that, he became a poster boy for Serie A around the world, earning him a prime place amongst many people’s memories of the period. Such was the love and admiration felt towards him by Florentine’s that a statue was erected in his honor whilst still an active player, as Fiorentina chased their first Scudetto since 1969.
His international reputation was further enhanced by a strong showing at France ’98, when he led the line for a great Argentina team. He scored the winner against Japan and a hattrick against Jamaica as the South Americans topped their group undefeated. He then took his place in that thrilling, drama filled 2-2 draw with England in the round of 16. Batistuta opened the scoring with a penalty; Alan Shearer leveled via the same method. A teenage Michael Owen cut Argentina to ribbons scoring one of the goals of the tournament, before Javier Zanetti levelled the game back up again after a beautifully worked free kick. David Beckham was infamously sent off. Penalties was the only way to settle it after 120 exhausting, end-to-end minutes.
Argentina prevailed, only to be knocked out in the quarter finals due to another wonder goal from Dennis Bergkamp. France ’98 was nostalgia being created via the hum of pre-digital TVs and pre handheld devices. Brilliant goals, brilliant players, and brilliant memories, even if it ended in disappointment for the Argentine team.
Fresh off his World-Cup, Fiorentina and Batistuta launched their biggest assault on the league title. They were ‘Winter Champions’ halfway in, a symbolic crown which often suggests a league title is on its way. Coached by serial winner Giovanni Trapattoni and sporting arguably the most sought-after kit of the last twenty years (think Fila meets Nintendo), La Viola looked set to finally break their duck. Yet nostalgia is often inspired by what might have- been as much as what was. Batistuta began to be hampered by injuries, his non-stop style wearing him down. Edmundo, the maverick, talented Brazilian striker perhaps capable of filling the void, decamped for the Rio carnival, and the title challenge fell away.
Fiorentina’s third placed finish did however allow them to compete in the Champions league, where Batistuta’s legend was further solidified as he scored goals against Europe’s elite sides. He scored against Barcelona at the Nou Camp; he then scored an outrageous winning goal against Arsenal, at Wembley of all places. After some intricate passing, he was released down the right channel, jinking inside with his deceptively deft touch, the blasting home from a seemingly impossible acute angle. Not only was it a great goal but it was a crucial goal, as Fiorentina piped Arsenal to progress to the second group stage. This allowed the great goals to continue, this time at Old Trafford; Shifting the ball between his feet to create room and evade the closing defenders, he hit the ball with such power that it essentially hit the roof of the net.
Yet despite his efforts, Fiorentina were beginning to fall into disarray. The league campaign was poor, and they were knocked out of Europe. Although not immediately obvious, the financial situation was worsening to the point of bankruptcy. Roma agreed to pay an astronomical amount for a player passed 30; Batistuta reluctantly agreed to the move, his statue removed by the once adoring Florentine fans. Yet he joined a Roma team which had quality all over the field and seemed more likely to achieve a scudetto. Totti, Cafu, Walter Samuel and Hidetoshi Nakata were just some of the names within the squad. They were also managed by Fabio Capello, a ruthless and hyper effective figure. In addition to that, Rome is a city which is notorious for fans just as obsessive and passionate as those found in Florence.
No longer carrying the weight of a whole team and city, ‘Batigol’ lived up to his nickname in his first season, despite mounting injuries. He scored 20 goals, including a crucial half volley against Fiorentina, which saw him weep openly on the pitch and applaud both sets of supporters. It reminded those watching that for all his superlative physical qualities, he was still human, and how highly he held supporters. It was an endearing and enduring image as Roma inched towards only the third scudetto in their history, and he was supported by Montella and Totti who also hit double figures. All three scored as the title was sealed on the final day at home against Parma; the imposing Olympico stadium awash with joy, relief, and passion.
After such a draining season, and now approaching his mid-30s, it was unsurprising that Batistuta began to slow down. He captained Argentina at the 2002 World Cup but scored only once as the Bielsa managed side were eliminated in the group stages. He never scored double figures again for Roma, as chronic ankle issues began to overwhelm him. A brief loan spell at Inter similarly failed to take off, although it was clear it was due to the toll of his career rather than a lack of effort and desire.
There are many reasons why ‘Batigol’ was and is loved. It wasn’t just the 354 goals he scored. It wasn’t just that many of them were spectacular. It wasn’t just that he was a joy to watch. It was a whole bunch of innate qualities. Loyalty, enthusiasm, bravery and hard work were what underpinned everything. Those qualities haven’t vanished from the contemporary game; but they’re associated with the man from Santa Fe completely. If you’ve ever bought a shirt from Classic Football Shirts, you’re buying a slice of nostalgia. And you’ll be familiar with what image greets you when you order. Fittingly, it’s Batistuta, eyes wide, fists clenched, mid celebration. It’s the joy of scoring. It’s the pain of it being over. It’s nostalgia, ultra.
Written By James Oddy
Follow him on Twitter: @AnotherSportsW1
My Football Shirt Collection - Venzo Chaar
Venzo is a professional football player in Lebanon. Growing up in a family of football players the collection has been growing since the 1990s. He has been named as the biggest football jersey collector in his country and has built a sports man cave in his house to showcase the collection that he has built.
Which football team do you support?
I have been a fan of Chelsea FC since 2000.
What does your collection consist of?
My collection consists of many clubs including Chelsea FC. It also includes, all types of football magazines, all world cup VCR videos, scarves, hats, match tickets, signed jerseys, and match worn jerseys. My family and I are all major premier league fans and we have managed to collect 20 different English team jerseys. Our goal is to collect all English team jerseys.
Do you collect a particular team?
I collect all types of teams from all around the world.
What was the first piece in your collection and when did you buy it?
A 1995-1996 Dortmund shirt, I bought it in the year of 1995.
How many pieces do you have in your collection?
I have around 400 jerseys excluding the family's collection which might add up to 600 jerseys in our football man cave.
What is the most important piece to you and why?
The 2011-2012 Chelsea Third Kit. It means a lot to me because it was signed by Lukaku, Romeu, Turnbull, Kalou and David Luiz. My favorite football player is David Luiz and I have met him over three times, I am also trying to collect all of his jerseys.
If you could add any piece to your collection what would it be and why?
I would really like to add a Makelele Chelsea jersey to my collection.
Do you have any other interesting stories about your collection?
My family and I are major football fanatics and we started playing and watching football games from a young age. We also traveled the world to watch and play football tournaments, and we managed to collect shirts from all the countries we have visited. Also, we kept watching games from a small TV until we decided to actually create the football man cave. We wanted it include all of the collections we have had hidden in our closets. This became our project but eventually it was more than just a project it was the temple we created to honour our love and passion for football. Currently we have managed to collect not only football shirts but also Panini, World Soccer, World Cup, Fifa and Champions League magazines. Now this football man cave has become the place we go to not only to watch football but also to discuss every game after it ends.
Follow Venzo's Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/thefootballmancave/
Player Profile - Zlatan Ibrahmovic
One of the complaints some older football fans have about the sport is the lack of real mavericks. Modern footballers are Spartans, supremely fit. They’re micromanaged off the field and often on it. It makes for superb, fast paced chess matches. But occasionally, you find yourself longing for the player who lives outrageously off the pitch and constantly takes risks on it.
There is still one standard bearer for the maverick, however. The 6’5 Swede still leading the line for A.C Milan at the age of 39, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Born in Malmo to migrant parents, he apparently spent his youth bouncing between chaotic homes and shoplifting. One of his few respites was watching Serie A, home to a plethora of elite strikers the young Zlatan began to idolise. The likes of Ronaldo, Batistuta, Crespo, Shevchenko and Recoba were in their pomp on the peninsula, inspiring the street football ‘Ibra’ engaged in.
Physically imposing even as a teenager, Zlatan debuted for Malmo at 15, and was quickly snapped up by Ajax. The Dutch club were in the process of assembling some of the brightest young talents from home and abroad; Ibra joining a squad containing the likes of Rafael Van Der Vaart, Nigel De Jong, Wesley Sneijder, Christian Chivu, Johnny Hetinga and Mido. Unsurprisingly, they went deep in the Champions league, before the side were inevitably sold off.
Although this team didn’t stick around long, it did allow Ibra to exhibit and develop his unique style of play. Despite having all the dimensions of a classic target man, he revealed himself to have so much more. Beautiful close control, a precise and powerful shot, link up play and a surprising turn of pace, he looked to have the potential to be a complete striker. His poise and finesse were exemplified in a goal against AZ in 2004, a leaping volley whilst mid-turn. Yet for all the on-field excellence, the youthful Zlatan was all proving a handful off it. Running battles with teammates, media and managers, both verbal and physical, were another attribute the youthful front man exhibited. This was a player who was very much their own man, it seemed, unwilling to be shackled by the constraints of others expectations.
For a boyhood fan of the Italian game, it wasn’t particularly surprising when his next move led him to Juventus. Exhibiting his innate self-belief and confidence, he decided to link up with a Juventus team which was not yet blighted by the Calciopoli scandal. Willing to compete with established, elite strikers in David Trezeguet and Alex Del Piero, the young Zlatan soon began scoring spectacular goals as the Turin side landed two Serie A titles, Ibra’s goals and presence proving crucial. In a league not normally welcoming to youthful players, he was a key man.
Despite that success, Juve were demoted and stripped of their titles as the full scandal of 2006 hit. Unwilling to play what could be his prime years in Serie B, Ibra made the move to the black and blue side of Milan. Inter were poised to be the beneficiaries of Italian footballs implosion, and Zlatan soon made himself the main man of the side, supplementing erratic Pro Evo icon Adriano as the sides focal point. Managed by Roberto Mancini, Inter had to handle a Roma team playing some outrageous attacking football. Yet the capital side were repeatedly held off as Inter made their dominance count.
In his second season, Ibra underlined how important he’d become for the II Biscione. Away at Parma, it looked as if Roma had secured the Scudeto, before an only partially fit Ibra rose from the bench to score two great goalsand retain the title. Inter, caught in a torrential downpour and labouring, had to rely onthe Swede. Mancini was then replaced despite his success by Jose Mourinho, who constructed a side even more reliant on the individual brilliance of Ibrahimovic. It’s a mark of what type of player he had become that he was the leading light of a squad containing the likes of Crespo, Adriano, Balotelli, Figo and Patrick Vieria. Yet at only 26 he hit 29 goals as Inter romped to a league and cup double.
Such was his pre-eminence that Barcelona, despite being able to call on the talents of Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry, decided to spend around 46 million euros to bring him to the Noun Camp. Indeed, Pep Guardiola even allowed the prolific Eto’o to be part of the deal along with the cash. Due to a combination of talent and force of personality, Ibra had dominated every side he had become a part of. Now, joining the Barca machine constructed with such precision by Guardiola, he appeared to be the perfect ‘plan B’ target man. Yet he possessed all the skills to be able to supplement the superlative ‘plan A’ of possession, movement, and incisive movement. It looked the perfect match, for both Barca and Ibra, to go to an even higher level.
Instead, the move never panned out. Zlatan was still prolific, and the side secured a league title and a club world cup. But they were dumped out of the Coppa Del Ray and then knocked out of the Champions league in a memorable semi-final against, of all sides, Inter. It appeared Zlatan needed to be the main man to be at his best, and at Barca, that spot belonged to Messi. Guardiola and Ibra’s relationship became increasingly acrimonious as the season came to a head, and it wasn’t a great surprise when he departed back to Milan, this time to the red and black side of the city.
This was a Milan side in serious flux, shorn of the presence of icon Paolo Maldini and with the core of players such as Seedorf, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Pirlo and Nesta aging. Yet Ibra, aided by fellow mavericks such as Antonio Cassano and Robinho, helped to secure the last Serie A title not won by Juventus. Ibra was the undoubted focal point for the side for his two seasons he spent in his initial spell with the Rossoneri, but a move to the newly minted Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2012 was symbolic of the changing of the guard in European and world football.
PSG had received the heavy investment of Qatar sports investment the previous summer, and the move of Ibra and his Milan teammate Thiago Silva helped to confirm the capital club as a new continental powerhouse. The move also sealed Ibrahimovic’s status as a player who transcended football; an individual who created enough noise on and off the field to draw new eyes to a ‘new’ team. His 20 million euro move also made him the most expensive player in history at that point, in terms of cumulative transfer fees, and the second-best player in the world.
For four seasons, Ibra’s sublime ball control, vicious and precise shooting and physical strength saw him dominate League 1, hitting over 150 goals as his side won the league every year. It also added to the stunning statistic that a side containing him had finished top of a league table for 12 of the 13 seasons he had spent in Holland, Italy, Spain and France. It made sense perhaps then for a player who has spoken of his need for constant challenge to head for the Premier League, despite nearing his mid-30s. Not only that, but to sign for a Manchester United side in search of a new identity under Jose Mourinho.
Brushing off concerns about his ability to adapt, Ibra instead proved brutally effective in both the league and in Europe. Scoring goals regular, he also showed his penchant for the physical side of the game, roughing up some of the Premierships most lauded defenders as he became a cult hero in his only full season at Old Trafford. Man United also provided Ibra with his only major European silverware, as they overcame Ajax in the 2017 Europa league final. The rapport between the club and player may have continued, if not for a unlucky injury which accelerated a move to the MLS.
No side but L.A Galaxy could perhaps have been big enough for Ibra in the MLS, yet he soon looked to be even too big for them. A famous full-page ad, stating simply “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome” and baring his signature was to be found in the LA Times upon his arrival as a 36 year old. He made appearances on Late Night chat shows alongside the great and good of Hollywood, ostensibly to promote LA Galaxy and the MLS, yet seemingly to exhibit his brand of knowing arrogance and flamboyance. And of course, he scored shed loads of goals. One, the 2018 MLS goal of the year, saw him pull off a half volley lob from around 35 yards out, exhibiting his unique blend of power and precision. Although not a league winner, he was the outstanding performer in the league, winning a plethora of individual awards.
Many see the MLS as one of the final stops on a career path, yet that hasn’t proven to be the case. Ibra instead returned to A.C Milan. Still one of the side’s main attacking outlets and his nears 40, he has proved a galvanizing effect on the youngest starting 11 found in Europe’s major leagues as they push for a long-awaited Serie A title. A player who has scored in the 90s, 2000s, 2010s an the 2020s, the Scandinavian has always been a true one-off. Perhaps the last of a dying breed of maverick player; but not one looking likely to hang up his boots anytime soon.
Written By James Oddy
Follow him on Twitter: @AnotherSportsW1
Player Profile - Lionel Messi
As soon as Maradona began his steep decline around the early 90s, Argentina was on the hunt to find his successor. Ariel Ortega, Pablo Aimar and Juan Roman Riquelme were part of a multitude of ‘new Maradonna’s’ who burst onto the scene. But filling the shoes of a man literally worshipped by his country was near impossible; many fine players were seen not on their own terms but under the long shadow of Diego.
Truly, most football fans probably expected it to be a forlorn search. Maradona seemed not just a generational talent but a once in a lifetime talent. A man, despite his capacity to self-destruct, who could drag also-ran teams by the scruff of the neck to glory. An all-time great midfielder and an all-time great forward rolled into one. The ultimate street urchin, a ‘pibe’, made good.
Few would expect a Rosario native to be the player to not only rival, but arguably surpass, Maradona. Rosario is a big, important city within Argentina, certainly. But in terms of football, it’s two clubs, Rosario Central and Newell’s Old Boys, aren’t part of the ‘big five’ of clubs based in Buenos Aires. The idea that a Rosario product with a growth deficiency could rival Maradona seemed beyond the realms of possibility.
Yet Lionel Messi, Rosario born and at Newell’s academy, seemed different right from the start. He was noted for his mesmerising ball control and ability to change direction at pace. But it wasn’t only that. He seemed to have an innate physical charisma and confidence beyond anything seen before in youth football. Messi’s own idol, appropriately enough, was Aimar. Yet whilst Aimar was a tricky, elusive playmaker, Messi promised to be all that and more. His goal scoring record for Newel’s youth teams was beyond compression; a superstar before he’d even become a teenager. Fittingly, Messi performed tricks on the pitch before Maradona made his debut during a brief sojourn at Newell’s.
Barcelona were soon made aware of Messi and his prodigious talents but were hesitant at first. There was a worry that for all his ability, he was simply too small. Yet the risk was taken, and Messi and his family arrived in Catalonia when he was 13. He was to join the famed ‘La Maisa’ academy, a talent factory poised to enter it’s most successful period.
Although it grates on some, the idea of Barcelona being ‘more than a club’ is entirely legitimate. Spanish identity is not a straightforward thing, and football is a big a part of that as anything else. Barcelona have always had a distinctive playing style, reflecting their status as the ‘national team’ for Catalonia.
At times, Barcelona have been known for their physicality and bravery. Yet by the time Messi arrived, the legacy of Dutch icon Johan Cruyff was thoroughly embedded within Barcelona’s academy sides. An obsession with possession, relying on short passing and prizing positional fluidity in it’s players, it was a style of football which would entirely dominate club and international football for nearly five years.
Yet it was another Dutchman who would have a more direct impact on Messi. Frank Rijkaard had fashioned an exciting, successful side around the maverick talents of Ronaldinho and the prolific Samuel Eto’o. Messi, after continuing his sensational scoring records in youth football, was handed a start at the age of just 17 against city rivals Espanyol in 2004. Later that season, he scored his first goal against Albacete, in a passing move which saw Ronaldinho chip the ball over the defence to the teenager, who then chipped the keeper. Seeing a youthful Messi hop on the shoulders of a beaming Ronaldinho proved to be an iconic image; the pair had developed a mentor/student relationship after the Brazilian, the world’s most exciting player, had declared Messi his heir apparent.
Ronaldinho and Eto’o were supported in that side by the likes of naturalised Portuguese Deco, Frenchman Ludovic Guily and Mexican Rafeal Marquez. It was a truly cosmopolitan side with only one La Maisa graduate, Carol Puyol, at his heart. They conquered La Liga and won the 2006 champions league final, yet the still developing Messi was in and out if the side, muscular injuries and niggles the cost of being a slight teenager playing at the sharp end of elite football. Not only that, but other La Maisa academy shining lights, Xavi and Iniesta, were on the periphery. Neither were tasked with starting the champions league final against Arsenal, whilst Messi was absent with injury.
Yet this Barcelona iteration quickly flamed out, Ronaldinho’s playboy lifestyle eroding his explosive dribbling and tricks and leading to his sale to A.C Milan. That wasn’t the only reason, however. Messi, still a teenager, was beginning to find a physical robustness which allowed him to play more consistently. And he didn’t just play; he’d begun to create and score spectacular goals. The idea of him being truly the ‘New Maradona’ was solidified with a mesmerizing dribble from within his own half against Getafe which culminated in him rounding the keeper to score. The reaction of his teammates and the Nou Camp crowd told it’s own story. Messi wasn’t set to just be a generational talent either. He was something else entirely.
Along with Ronaldinho’s departure, Rijkaard also left, seemingly exhausted at the pressures of managing a club with such political and sporting pressures. Into his place stepped Pep Guardiola, who as a player was seen as the complete embodiment of the Cruyff philosophy, the lynchpin of the early 90s ‘dream team’.
Messi was quickly installed as the creative fulcrum of this new Barcelona, working with Guardiola to innovative and perfect the ‘false 9’ position. Playing centrally and nominally the only striker in a front three, Messi instead drifted into midfield and to the wings, a finisher and creator all at once. With Thiery Henry and Samuel Eto’o on the ‘wings’, the trio were devastating as Barcelona landed a treble of La Liga, Copa Del Ray and Champions League. Indeed, the whole team could arguably be considered the greatest ever. Fluid, patient, ruthless and innovative, they were simply too good. Messi was the top scorer for the side with 38 goals, a number which at the time seemed phenomenal.
Yet Messi and Guardiola continued to push tactical and athletic boundaries. More league titles and champions leagues followed as Messi hit 173 goals over three seasons, a staggering amount for a player in the champions league and one of Europe’s elite leagues. Every type of goal was seen; outrageous dribbles, daring chips, tap ins, headers. Left foot and right foot. He and Barcelona were almost unstoppable. The La Maisa core of the team- Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, Busquets Piquie and Victor Valdes was supplemented perfectly by the Argentine.
Football in the 21st century is a truly multi-cultural game, and Messi has proven to be the perfect embodiment of it’s myriad influences. Born in Argentina; educated in Spain with a Dutch style of play as it’s philosophy. Playing in a Spanish league and dominating a continental cup featuring the best of European teams. Yet all this did create questions in Messi’s homeland as to how Argentine he ‘truly’ was. He was sent off on his debut for his country against Hungary at the age of 18 in 2005, an inauspicious start. Come the 2006 world cup however, he was Argentina’s bright new hope.
This pointed to the ongoing pattern between Messi and his home country, at least in a footballing sense. Messi would be perceived to have underperformed (at least compared to his supernatural Barca form) and be scapegoated for the failure. Quickly, however, he would been seen as a saviour and a route to international glory once again. Named captain at the age of 24, he’s led the side to three Copa America finals and a world cup final; coming up short on every occasion. Argentina’s all time top scorer and the player of the tournament at the 2014 world cup, calling him an underperformer for his country would be way wide of the mark, yet that may be what some would say.
Messi has continued to break records for Barca post Guardiola, increasingly becoming the clubs entire focal point as the great La Maisa products retired or moved on. Dribbling; passing; tactical flexibility; quick of foot and thought. A natural goalscorer and a great creator. The superlatives simply don’t exist to fully do Messi justice, some even becoming blasé to his greatness. At 33 however, it seems fairly certain that they’ll be no more questions about the new Maradona. Instead, world football will be looking for the new Messi. Not bad for a kid from Roasario with a growth deficiency.
Written By James Oddy
Follow him on Twitter: @AnotherSportsW1
Player Profile - Zinedine Zidane
“Happiness is never given; it has to be invented”. So said Jean Claude Izzo, the French essayist and author. His Marseille trilogy documents the mean streets of his home city, inventing and perfecting Mediterranean noir in the process. Violence and beauty; check and jowl.
The slouching, laconic figure of Zidane feels as if he could be ripped from the pages of one of Izzo’s novels. The son of Algerian migrants, he also hails from the port city. At 6’1 and well built, he could appear to be one of the heavies which fill out Izzo’s gangs and Mafia’s.
Yet from the first moments he first appeared down the coast at Cannes, an unfashionable club in a fashionable town, it was apparent that he was a player capable of inventing happiness from very little. He wasn’t a heavy at all, instead he possessed the daintiest of touches.He appeared to have magnets in his boots; wherever his feet moved, the ball seemed to glide along with them. Yet he could still handle himself physically. The violence and the beauty were part of the complete package.
Sporting a healthy head of hair, the youthful Zidane began to unleash his trademark roulettes, chips and feints on the French public. It wasn’t long before the more competitive Bordeaux came calling, adding Zidane to the likes of Christophe Duggary and Bixente Lizarazu to create a side capable of reaching the 96 UEFA cup final. After cutting A.C Milan to shreds en route to the final, Juventus came calling.
Juve were a supercharged team. Zidane blended with the ingenuity of Del Piero, the guile of Pipo Inzaghi and the energy of Edgar Davids, creating arguably the best club side of the late 90s. In their trademark black and white striped kit, which seemed to add to their air of menace and relentlessness, they fell short in two of three consecutive champions league finals but dominated domestically. Italy seemed to add a level of tactical maturity and even greater physical strength to the Zidane arsenal. He was quietly becoming the most complete midfielder in world football, able to find space at any point on the pitch and exploit it to it’s maximum capacity.
Although it would be unfair to call Zidane a late bloomer, his rise came in the pre-internet age, and it was not until France ‘98 when he truly exploded into worldwide consciousness. For a player who embodied the role of the fabled ‘number 10’, he only ever wore the number whilst on national service. Playing in an Adidas shirt which managed to be iconic in both home and away variations, this was a tournament where Zidane slowly emerged amongst a superb generation of French talent.
That world cup was the last of the analogue age; it’s hard to picture it without seeing that faint fuzz of VHS video, rather than crisp digital. He was a figurehead of the ‘new France’, or rather a France getting to grips with a migrant diaspora it had offered a home to. He created goals from the off, yet the violence was still present. He was red carded after stamping on the prone Saudi Arabian, Fuad Anwar, and glowered at the referee seemingly for the audacity of penalizing him for it. Yet France marched on, and he was installed back into the side as soon as the ban was spent.
His status as a symbol for his country was elevated even further come the final against the Brazil of Ronaldo. The South American was the unquestionable star of tournament heading in, yet it was Zidane’s two headers which sealed the cup. Just like one of the assassins from Izzo’s Noir’s, he stole in largely unnoticed both times to land the killer blows.
With his visage projected onto the Arche de triomphe in the raucous post final celebrations, Zidane became the symbol of elite European football. Come Euro 2000, his elegance was aligned with a brutal efficiency and a startling resolve, as he proved decisive with freekicks and high stakes penalties. The early years of the new millennium seemed destined to be Zidane’s.
Very few clubs in the world could claim to be bigger than Juventus, yet when Real Madrid president Florentino Perezused a scrawled note on a napkin to ask if Zidane would like to come to the Spanish capital, it was met with a yes. This was early in the ‘galatico’ era, before any semblance of team cohesion went out of the window in a bid to shoehorn in more big-name players. Instead, Zidane became the creative fulcrum of a side already featuring the talents of Luis Figo, Raul, Roberto Carlos and Claude Makelele.
For all the great performances, his ability to ‘invent happiness’ was never more evident in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen. The goal has been repeated so many times that you can almost become numb to it; the looping, high cross from Carlos; the hanging ball, which takes an eternity to fall; the swivel of the hips from Zidane, to catch the ball at the perfect time with his weaker left foot; the ball billowing into the top corner, beyond the dive of Hans Butt; the distinctive roar of a a Spanish crowd. Yet whilst any football fan has seen it countless times, watching it with fresh eyes, it’s startling just how aesthetically perfect it is.
It highlights just how ruthless Zidane was as a player. He could have been a luxury. Yet when the big moments arrived for club or country, he could usually be counted upon to pull something extraordinary from nothing. The tricks, the elegance, all had an end product.
Yet as Real began to become more of a marketing tool than an effective team and squad, Zidane seemed to wane. He still stood out at times amongst the other superstars, but there was no longer any cohesion of defensive order. For all their star power, Real would only pick up a La Liga during Zidane’s remaining four years with the club. Announcing his decision to retire come the end of the 2006 season and the subsequent world cup, it seemed as if perhaps his influence was no longer as pronounced as it once was.
The 2006 world cup was the last chance for many players who had appeared at France ’98. England’s ‘Golden Generation’ were aging. Ronaldo of Brazil had been slowed by injuries and Ronaldinho by lifestyle. And Zidane, Veira, Thuram and Trezeguet were on a downward slope. Indeed, it’s worth pointing out that Zidane had originally retired from the national squad after French failure at Euro 2004.
Installed back into the side as captain and the hub of creativity, he instead seemed to find an extra gear. Perhaps because of an awareness any game could be his last, the ball no longer seemed the only thing which clung to him. The whole tournament seemed to converge around him, as if it were fate that he would lead his country to one last major triumph. His performance against Brazil in the quarter finals particularly stood out. He married beauty with threat; flicking the ball over multiple players before spraying passes. This was a player seemingly relishing the dying of the light of his own career.
Yet fatalism is a cornerstone of Izzo’s noirs. The beauty fights against the brutality, until the brutality inevitably triumphs. As so it was in Zidane’s last ever match in the world cup final against an Italy side united by scandal and corruption back home. He’d already panenka’s a penalty off the underside of the crossbar against the greatest keeper of the modern era, Gianluigi Buffon, in the early stages. The coolness, the audacity of it, was startling. The perfecting ending seemed insight.
Yet Italy battled back and equalized, via Marco Materazzi, another player who was defined by his brutality. As the game ebbed and flowed, the dueling narratives of Zidane’s last hurrah for France and the calciopoli scandal for Italy became overwhelming. Each through ball, dribble and tackle seemed to take on added weight. This wasn’t just a game. It wasn’t even just a world cup final. It was a battle for the future of two footballing nations.
And then. As the game reached it’s crescendo, Zidane landed that headbutt on the chest of Materazzi. As the Italian lay in a crumpled heap on the floor, Zidane waited for the inevitable red card. His days of inventing happiness as a player were over, as he trudged past the world cup down the tunnel. Italy won. Like all noirs, the ending was bittersweet. So near to perfection; so close you could reach out a hand and touch it. But fate had different plans.
Everything about Zidane seemed cinematic. From his origins in Cannes to his ability to add to a sporting narrative at the perfect moment. The elegance was borderline balletic. They did even make a film just about him. Called Zidane: A 21st century portrait, which was shown in cinemas and art galleries, such was it’s avant-garde aspirations.
His on-pitch charisma is only part of his enduring appeal, however. For a generation of fans, he represents the greatest footballer in an age of great footballers before the hegemony of Messi and Ronaldo.
The last analogue star; Zinedine Zidane, ripped from the pages of an Izzo novel.
Written By James Oddy
Follow him on Twitter: @AnotherSportsW1
My Favourite Football Shirts With Adrian Spitz
Adrian Spitz is a pro baseball player growing up in Los Angeles, California. He studied in New York University then signed to the Oakland Athletics Organization. An avid supporter of Real Madrid and the Mexican National Team, he began collecting football shirts from a young age and recently sat down with us to give us his Favourite Five, with his own spin on the idea.
''When having to pick my Favorite Shirts of all time, I found it nearly impossible. To me a football shirt isn’t just an ordinary shirt; it’s a piece of art, and history. Some would say it’s a moment in time. Every season not only are the designs unique, but history is written. When asked to choose my top football kits I organized my list by countries, and clubs within the countries.''
1. MY NUMBER 1 WILL ALWAYS BE MEXICO
Growing up between LA, and Mexico City, the Green and Red will always run through my blood lines. My favourite Mexico jersey has to be the 1998 World Cup Home Kit. The colour, as well as the integration of the Aztec calendar gives it a strong historic Mexican feel. To me, the most nostalgic Mexico kit was the year the national team was sponsored by Nike during the 2006 World Cup. Since signing with Adidas the only shirt that caught my eye was the 2018 Away Jersey. I’ve always been a firm believer of simplicity being key.
When it comes to the Liga MX, I grew up supporting the U.N.A.M. Pumas. The classic Pumas logo is one that I’ve been exposed to like the Mexican National Team crest since birth. My grandfather used to bring me U.N.A.M. shirts when he would visit from Mexico City. Hugo Sanchez was the most notable Pumas star and the logo he wore across his chest has not changed to this day. Since signing with Nike in 2014 the kits have been beautiful. It was hard to choose my favourite Pumas shirt because the consistency and craft have been there since the Nike takeover.
2. SPAIN HAS ALWAYS HAD A LARGE PLACE IN MY HEART
My favourite club in the world has to be Real Madrid. Year in and year out, they have retained the classic Los Blancos shirts. Yet, the shirts that I treasured the most are the home shirts from 2004-2007. I would consider those years the most nostalgic when it comes to my childhood, watching players such as Iker Castillas, Roberto Carlos, Zidane, Raúl, Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Guti, Sergio Ramos, David Beckham etc…
The true Real shirts that are more recent, but arguably one of the largest milestones was the Cristiano Ronaldo era. Between 2013-2018 Real Madrid were crowned champions of Europe 4 out of the 5 years. The club’s level of Championship consistency in this era, will cement these shirts as those of the greatest champions in the history of football. Players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Luca Modric and several others instilled the true determination and mindset that anything short of a Champions League crown is failure.
3. THE TEAM I SUPPORT IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE HAS ALWAYS BEEN CHELSEA
The year 2006-2007 was Adidas’ first year with the English Club, shortly following their first Premier League title in 50 years. This shirts, and change in apparel provider, in my eyes, was the club's turning point. Since their 2005-2006 title, Chelsea has always been considered a top tier club in both the Premier League and in Champions League play.
Since Nike took over in 2017 as manufacturer, Chelsea did not produce much flare in their annual kits. This changed when the 2018-2019 and the 2019-2020 third kits were released. The 2018-2019 Chelsea Third Kit gives an ocean bliss feel, with a graphic of West London if you look closely at the shirt. The 2019-2020 third kit was beautifully inspired by the 1990’s kit style.
4. LOS ANGELES GALAXY 2007 ''DAVID BECKHAM'S ARRIVAL''
Living in Los Angeles this shirt is more than just a shirt. Growing up in the United States football or soccer was not the centre of attention in the sports world throughout the US. In 2007, when David Beckham made the big move from the Spanish La Liga’s powerhouse Real Madrid to Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, a new era of football began in the United States. This move not only rebranded the Los Angeles Galaxy, but also rebranded football in the United States as a whole. Beckham’s historic move to the United States has helped grow interest in football, both as a spectator and participant, for all age groups across the nation. This shirt symbolizes the moment in time where US Football went from an afterthought, to a viable destination for big name talent from all over the world.
5. AT NUMBER 5, I HAVE THE ITALIAN NATIONAL TEAM, JUVENTUS AND INTER MILAN
Let’s start with the 2006 Italian National Team World Cup Champions shirt. When I was 12 years old I would watch every knockout stage match at my favourite Italian restaurant Madeo Ristorante in Los Angeles. They would host friends and family viewing parties for every Italy match that World Cup, until the Italians lifted the trophy, it’s something I’ll never forget.
Next, I’ll have to go with the Adidas Juventus X Palace collaboration. I would consider this to be one of the largest collaboration between football and streetwear brands. The Italian club and the US based streetwear brand brought together two beautiful cultures and created a unique one of a kind home kit that brought a bit of flash to an all time classic. Who better to sport it than global icon Cristiano Ronaldo?
Another Italian club that has proven to be a creative pioneer in the football shirt market is Inter Milan. Although, the Italian Club maintains their classic blue and black striped home kit, they continue to develop beautiful away and 3rd kits year in and year out. Let’s start with the Internazionale 2010/2011 away shirt. I found this quite artistic with the symbol of the great city of Milan, the Biscione running down the side of the shirt.
The Nike Inter 2018-19 third shirt was quite a beautiful shirt paying homageto the fashion capital. “We feel this kit is rich in Inter DNA,” says Pete Hoppins, Nike Football Apparel Senior Design Director. “The Duomo and the St. George cross are Milanese icons and mean a lot to the Inter supporters. This kit is about Inter’s identity and paying tribute to the city and the people they represent.” This kit truly represents Milan. If you look closely through the marble you’ll find the Milano City Centre.
My final Inter shirt that literally drove me off the track was the 2019-20 Third Shirt. This shirt was a true tribute to the iconic long time Inter sponsor Pirelli.
6. MONACO AND PSG IN THE FRENCH LEAGUE
The Nike AS Monaco 2017-18 represents one of the biggest upsets in League 1 football history. Monaco winning the 2017 Ligue 1 title over heavily favoured PSG led by Falcao, and Mbappé was one for the books. The 2017-18 Nike AS Monaco home shirts with the league 1 champions patch is one that the Monégasque, and Monacoian’s will not forget for years to come.
The 2012-2013 PSG Home Kit was truly a historic shirt for PSG fans as it was the first Paris Saint Germain shirt worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Not only did it house Ibra, but also fashion icon David Beckham made his League 1 debut for PSG that season as well, in the same shirt. The first time I stepped foot in Paris back in 2014 I made sure to buy myself the 2014/15 Home shirt, which I still have. It will always have a special spot in my heart, as I believe PSG has never failed to bring beautiful shirts to its fans.
My Football Shirt Collection - Ashton
Ashton is a Sheffield Wednesday fan and football shirt collector, he fell out of love with wearing shirts after comments from fellow school kids, but has since fallen back in love with jerseys and due to a tweet from his mum, Hayley being shared across the football shirt social media community he has received messages of support and a number of impressive shirts since. We had a chat with Ash about his collection and the response so far.
Could you tell us about what happened with the kids who made comments about your collection and the response to your Mum's tweet?
I used to turn up to football training at my local side in a different shirt each week, often classic shirts with bold designs from the 90s. One of the other players on the team thought they looked stupid which knocked my confidence and I stopped wearing them for a while. During lockdown I have had time to reflect and I fall back in love with them and I have distanced myself from the negativity. I'm back to wearing them wherever I go now!
The response on social media has been incredible. People within the community have been very supportive and I've been getting shirts in the post everyday since, they second day after the tweet was posted I had 8 unexpected parcels arrive at my door! We thought it would be best to explain to the postman why we were getting so many parcels, it turned out that he collects shirts too, he has 500 in his collection so I have a way to go before I've caught up with him!
I've been contacted from all over the world now, from Florida to Malaysia and have even had messages from Torino FC! I've had sports stores, clubs and even individual collectors send me shirts and made me feel like part of the community, the messages of support have made the negativity to my collection a thing of the past.
How long have you been collecting football shirts?
I have been collecting shirts since I was about four, my Grandad bought me a Holland shirt out of the blue, I loved how bright and orange it was! I have pretty much lived in football shirts since, mainly from Sheffield Wednesday who I support and England
What led you to support Sheffield Wednesday?
My mum! She is a big Sheffield Wednesday fan so I was born with blue blood, she met Des Walker when she was 11 which began her support for the club and she raised me as an Owl too. I can't even remember my first time watching a game at Hillsborough as I was too young, I had my first season ticket at 8 and was lucky enough to get to watch us play at Wembley in the Play-Off Final in 2015. I love being a Wednesday fan, I'm not from Sheffield and all the kids at my school support Premier League teams or local clubs like Derby so it makes my football team more unique!
How many shirts do you have in your collection so far?
I now have over 90 shirts! Over 30 of those have been sent to me due to my Mum's tweet
Which are your favourite shirts in your collection?
My 1995 Sheffield Wednesday Away shirt is probably my favourite, the bold green design is great, my Mum and I wore this and the yellow 93 Away to a 90s party and they went down really well!
My second favourite is my 2010 Marseille shirt, it was a gift from a Ryan from Rowsley 86 FC, the design is crazy!
Finally, my favourite to be passed down to me from my Grandad's collection is my Spain 94 Away shirt, I love how 90s it is.
What shirt would you most like to add to your collection?
I'm always on the lookout for Sheffield Wednesday shirts, I love Brazil shirts too and the Fiorentina 92 Home shirt is on my wishlist too!
I also like shirts that have a connection to Sheffield Wednesday and our current and past players, I have an Armenia Bielefeld shirt, our centre back Julian Börner signed for us from them, I have Portugal shirts in honour of Jose Semedo and I now even have Reda Johnson's training shirt from Eastleigh FC, they're all great shirts and remind me of three of my favourite players to have played in blue and white.
Do you have any plans for your collection going forward?
I just want to collect as many shirts as I can and be able to wear them whenever I like. My mum has had to buy me a clothes rail as my wardrobe is full so now I'll have to fill that. I want to add them all to my Instagram too (https://www.instagram.com/ashsfootballshirts/) so everyone can see the shirts I've added.
I hope to get more shirts from anywhere and everywhere, the more obscure the better! I love seeing people trying to work out the shirt I'm wearing and their reaction to it being from Guadalajara!
For now I'm just going to try and have a new shirt to wear everyday until I'm back at school.
Follow Ashton's collection here - https://www.instagram.com/ashsfootballshirts/
Check out our Sheffield Wednesday classic and recent season products here - https://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk/other-uk-clubs/championship/sheffield-wednesday.html
Send us your collections on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CFSCollectorsClub and you could be featured. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
My German International and Lothar Matthäus Football Shirt Collection – CyLee
Hong Kong based CyLee is an passionate football shirt collector with a jaw dropping array of DFB shirts and an affinity for all things Lothar Matthäus.
Why do you collect Lothar Matthäus shirts?
I watched a TV show about German football in the run up to Italia '90, it showed a number of DFB's best ever World Cup games, including the 1954 World Cup final, their match against Italy in the 1970 World Cup, 1982 World Cup vs France and more. It showed me the spirit of the German team and players and it really made me start to appreciate them. When the 1990 World Cup came around there was only one team I wanted to win and i began to idolise their captain Lothar Matthäus. I had to have that shirt. I soon started to buy the German jerseys and almost all of those that I bought had Lothar Matthäus's name on the back.
My shirt buying has changed greatly since then, I look for matchworn shirts, I look back on the team, the match the shirt was worn and the player who wore it but I still find myself looking for Lothar's shirts more than any other player's!
How many shirts do you have in your collection?
I now have over 100 matchworn or match issue DFB shirts, my oldest is from 1957 and they range right up to this season! Over 20 of those shirts are worn by or issued to Lothar Matthäus, I also have a number of rare one of shirts, training kits and goalkeeper jerseys that are highly sought after by other collectors.
I only buy shirts that were issued to players who I really like and who played a big part in the international team now.
What was your first shirt and when did you buy it?
My mother bought me the home shirt worn at the 1990 World Cup, I watched their games from that tournament while wearing it, it's in a children's size and I still have it!
Which shirts do you consider to be your favourites from your collection?
That's a really difficult question to answer! I would have to split them up into three groups.
The first group of pictures I have chosen are my oldest shirts.
I have a 1957-1959 matchworn home shirt, the shirt was produced by manufacturer ‘Leuzela’ who manufactured the shirts worn from 1950-1963. It is without doubt one of my rarest shirts and was one of the first shirts the side wore during the period they only represented the Western region of the country. It really is a piece of DFB history!
My 1970 match Issue home shirt has to be mentioned too, the shirt was produced by Umbro and represents a glorious era in German football. Umbro produced both round-neck and V-neck jerseys during this period but the V-neck shirts were definitely the most special.
The second group is made up of the shirts worn from 1988 to 1990.
I have Lothar's matchworn shirt worn when Germany took on Holland in the round of 16, the match is known for Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Völler's famous altercation.
I also have Pierre Littbarski's away shirt from the same tournament, the away shirt has many different forms and this is probably my favourite. The shirt was produced specifically for the World Cup and was only worn against England. The material, colour and collar are all slightly different from other models of the shirt, while the DFB badge and 'ITALIA 90' are embroidered directly on the jersey.
The third group is the shirt worn by Lothar Matthäus for his first cap and at his first World Cup.
My 1980 Home shirt issued to Lothar vs Greece is the same shirt that he made his debut in. The shirt was made by Erime, in the first game the manufacturer's logo was covered with white material, the shirts for the remaining games didn't have the manufacturers logo on them at all!
I also have Matthäus's shirt that was issued to him for West Germany's game vs England at the 1982 World Cup, this was the first World Cup that Lothar played in.
Finally, I have a number of matchworn club shirts worn by Matthäus that I'd have to mention too.
I have a 1982-83 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach matchworn shirt, this was Lothar Matthäus’s first club.
My 1988-89 Inter Milan matchworn shirt, Lothar spent four seasons with the Italian giants.
The 2000-01 FC Bayern Munich away shirt worn by Matthäus, this shirt is especially important to me as it has the text "Servus Lothar" on the back of the jersey to mark his final game with the club
Lothar's final professional club was the New York Metrostars, I managed to pick up this Home shirt from the year 2000 that he wore during his time there, he only played in New York for a handful of months and barely wore this shirt making it very rare!
What is the shirt you would like most in your collection?
I would love to add some more ancient international shirts dating back to the 30's and 40's but I think that would be too difficult to ever manage! Apart from that I still want an Lothar Matthäus matchworn shirts from any World Cup or European Championships!
What are you future plans for your collection?
Through social media I have made some great friends in the football shirt world, most have been from Germany, they've helped me understand the shirts in different ways and have shown me some real gems of their own. I have also been to visit the private football museum in Germany and made friends with the people who ran it. This has pushed me to start writing a book on German football and the national shirt so I can share my knowledge of it with the people of Hong Kong. When I am out and about taking pictures of my collection now there are a lot of perplexed faces when they see what I am doing, I'd love to have something to show them to help them understand what it is that I do!
If you would like to see more of CyLee's collection, follow him on Instagram here - https://www.instagram.com/CyLeeDFBCollection/
Check out our Germany Shirts here - https://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk/international-teams/european/germany.html
We also have a handful of Lothar Matthäus products available - https://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk/lothar-matthaus
Send us your collections on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CFSCollectorsClub and you could be featured. Alternatively you can email us at email@example.com