FC Barcelona is special club for many reasons, and the uniqueness of the shirt colours is one of them. The blaugrana stripes look very, very classy indeed. No doubt more than a few fans have been drawn to the team purely because the colours look so cool.
Barça are by no means the only team that wear red and blue stripes, but it is quite an unusual combination. Some of our ‘twins’ around the world share the same colours because of a historic connection, but in most cases the similarity is purely coincidental…
The club from Valencia adopted blaugrana in 1939, thirty years after they had been founded. It was due to a merger with another club, Gimnàstic FC. It was decided that the new club would keep the Levante name but wear the Gimnàstic colours - which in a roundabout way were also the Barça colours.
Gimnàstic had been founded in 1909 by a Jesuit from Barcelona, Narcís Basté i Basté, who moved to Valencia in 1901. The ancient club’s colours and crest were so similar to those of Barça that it’s impossible to imagine it was mere coincidence.
CF Extremadura, Spain
It is often said that CF Extremadura (reformed in 2007 as Extremadura Unión Deportiva) wear blaugrana due to a Barça connection, but nobody has ever been able to prove it. All we know is that when the club first wore blue and red shirts in 1946, the blue was so dark that people mistook it for black, which doesn't suggest any attempt to imitate the Barça colours
Eibar most definitely owe their colours to FC Barcelona. In 1943 the Basque federation presented the club with a set of Barça shirts and they have worn blaugrana ever since. Curiously, as late as 1987, when the club was promoted to the second division for the first time, the team was still finding it cheaper to simply buy replica Barça jerseys and change the badge!
Huesca Football Club was formed in 1922, according to popular legend by FC Barcelona supporters in the Aragonese city. There is no proof that this was the case, but it’s certainly curious that just four years later Barça visited the club for a friendly that ended 2-2. Why would the mighty Barça be playing a game against a little-known provincial team unless there was some kind of connection?
Crystal Palace, England
When the Eagles first landed in London in 1905, they used a set of Aston Villa shirts (claret with blue sleeves). They played around with the design over the years, and did use stripes in some seasons, and even switched to all-white in imitation of Real Madrid for a while. But the current striped design was the idea of manager Malcolm Allison in 1973, and was directly inspired by FC Barcelona.
Club Malherbe Caennais wore black and white stripes and Club Sportif Caennais wore blue and red hoops, and when they merged in 1913, they decided to also merge shirts, with the former’s stripes and the latter’s colours.
Formed in 1967, the Turkish club wear claret and blue halves. Although nobody knows why it is often speculated that they originally wore a set of shirts borrowed from Aston Villa.
Fehérvár FC and Vasas SC, Hungary
Fehérvár’s red and blue represents the coat of arms of Székesfehérvár, where they are based. Vasas SC also wear red and blue stripes, but this is unlikely to be because of any connection to the Catalan club.
FC Basel, Switzerland
The Swiss side has worn rotblau since they were formed in 1893, six years earlier than FC Barcelona. Here the potential connection is the other way round – could Barça have imitated Basel? It is often claimed that Hans Gamper chose red and blue for the Catalans because of his previous affiliation to Basel. However, though he would have been familiar with the Basel colours and may have thought they looked great, his team in Switzerland had been FC Zurich, who wore white.
Catania, Bologna and Genoa, Italy
Italy has three major teams that wear red and blue, but there is no FC Barcelona association in any of the cases.
Catania’s strip was chosen to represent the fiery red of Mount Etna and the blue of the sea, Bologna inherited their colours from the Swiss college Schoenberg in Rossbach where one of the players was studying, and Genoa have worn red and blue since 1901.
Founded in 1980, the side from Suez not only wear the blaugrana colours but are known as the 'Egyptian Barça' and even the 'blaugrana'.
San Lorenzo, Argentina
As Pope Francis’ favourite team, it’s only appropriate that San Lorenzo’s colours should have a religious origin. Founded by Father Lorenzo Massa in 1908, it is said he took inspiration from the red and blue of the cloth of Mary Help of Christians (Maria Auxilium Christianorum), or otherwise that blue symbolised ‘ideals’ and red the ‘fight’.
Atlante, who relocated from Mexico City to Cancun in 2007, are another side that wears a blaugrana strip, but despite Barça historically having a huge following in the country, there is no evidence to suggest that the colours owe their origin to the Catalan club.
Deportivo Quito and Deportivo Quevedo, Ecuador
Deportivo Quito’s colours are taken from the red and blue of the Ecuadorian capital’s flag, and there would appear to be no Barça connection with Deportivo Quevedo either.
However, one of the biggest clubs in the South American country is very much historically associated to the Catalans: Barcelona Sporting Club.
The club, winners of 15 league titles, was formed in 1925 by a group of young men in Guayaquil that included several Catalan emigrants who named and styled the club after the one they knew from back home. Indeed, the club crest, still used today, is identical in style to Barça’s, including the St George cross, the Catalan senyera and a similar image of a ball.
But curiously (and other than a short period in the 1940s) they have never worn Barça’s blaugrana colours. They initially had black shirts, before one of the Catalans in the team, Alberto March, came up with a yellow and red striped shirt inspired by the Catalan flag. The red stripes gradually disappeared over the years, and Barcelona now wear yellow with red trim.
Cerro Porteño, Paraguay
Cerro were founded in 1912, with the country divided between two fiercely opposed political parties, the Colorado (red) and the Liberals (blue). The new club adopted a mixture of both colours to symbolise how sport is about unity and friendship.
Monagas SC, Venezuela
Monagas was founded in 1987, and its blaugrana colours were a direct imitation of FC Barcelona’s, but for a curious reason. The idea came from the club’s vice-president Francisco Espinoza, who actually supported Real Madrid. His bizarre argument was that he didn’t want Madrid’s all-white strip to be associated to any defeats!
Unión Magdalena, Colombia
Formed in 1953, the club’s red and blue stripes are directly taken from the flag of the ‘department’ of the same name.
Alianza Universidad de Huánuco, Peru
This club was formed in 1939 out of a merger between two older teams called Jorge Chávez and Sport Grau. One wore red and the other wore blue, so the new team wore a combination of the two and any semblance to the Barça colours is coincidental.