La Liga Lowdown
Spain: The Stories Behind The Shirts - 2001/02 Real Madrid
Written by Euan McTear
There’s one goal, one final, one trophy that comes to mind when you see the shirt Real Madrid wore in 2002, the year of the capital city club’s centenary.
On May 15th, 2002, Zinedine Zidane changed footballing history with one swing of his left boot, connecting with Roberto Carlos’ lofted cross and pinging the star-covered ball past Hans-Jörg Butt and into the back of the Hampden Park net.
That 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen capped off the Frenchman’s impressive debut season at Real Madrid, the club he’d joined from Juventus in the summer of 2001. Zidane was the second Galáctico to arrive, following Luis Figo who’d touched down at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu the year before in a shock transfer that helped propel Florentino Pérez to the presidency. This Galácticos project was just getting started, but already they’d claimed a Champions League title, the ninth European Cup in the club’s history.
With Ronaldo Nazário, David Beckham and Michael Owen to come, the Galácticos project was only just getting started. But, little did they know at the time, that night in Glasgow would be the only Champions League success for Pérez up until Sergio Ramos’ header and the triumph in Lisbon in 2014.
In a way, that only makes Zidane’s goal even more special. Nobody quite thought that this moment would be the peak for the Galácticos, but it was.
It’s a moment that will forever be marked in history. Not just footballing history, but general history. Even most non-football fans know that Zidane scored a wondergoal in a Champions League final, a goal he produced while wearing one of the most beautiful Real Madrid shirts ever.
With 2002 being the club’s centenary year, there was no sponsor across the chest. All that featured on that jersey was the club badge, the Adidas logo and stripes and the names and numbers on the back. Even the lettering and numbering was stylistic and unique, synonymous with the Galácticos era. You see a player with those letters and that numbering and they look a million bucks. Sometimes they literally were worth that much.
Once the celebrations died down and the confetti was swept away, it was time for Real Madrid to move on and for the designers to produce the next incarnation of the home jersey. Of course, it remained as white as snow, but in 2002/03 the chest had a sponsor again as Siemens sat proudly on the chests of superstars up until 2007, followed by Bwin and Emirates. It’s true that there have been some really smart Real Madrid home shirts in the years since Zidane hit that goal, yet nothing lives up to that pure white outfit from Hampden Park. It was a special shirt for a special volley. For the volley.
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You can also check out all of the shirts in this series, on the CFS website: http://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk