Barca to wear white for first time in 44 years

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Barcelona will wear white for the first time in 44 years when they face Arsenal in Los Angeles on Wednesday after unveiling their new away shirt.

Barca say the switch to the colour, which is strongly associated with their rivals Real Madrid, “pays tribute” to club legend Johan Cruyff.

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“Based on the second kit worn by the club during the 1970s, the jersey is predominantly white, featuring red and blue stripes on the sleeves,” the club said in a statement.

“The pioneering figure of Cruyff has provided the inspiration for this kit. Players like [Paulino] Alcantara, [Josep] Samitier, Cesar [Rodriguez] and [Laszlo] Kubala, among others, also wore a white jersey with the club between the 1920s and 1970s.”

The last time Barca wore the colour competitively was in a 1979 European Cup Winners’ Cup tie against Ipswich Town.

There has been speculation in the past that the Catalan side would opt for a white change strip, although they have previously steered away from it due to its link to Madrid.

Barca sported a grey kit with the Blaugrana cross last year, a bridge to this season’s white jersey.

However, president Joan Laporta gave kit manufacturers Nike the green light to move ahead with production of a white away shirt for the 2023-24 season.

“It’s not all white,” Laporta told Mundo Deportivo. “It has some blue and red detail on the sleeve and it’s in memory of one of the first shirts Cruyff wore at the club.

“The commercial brands have studied this very carefully. When we were elected, it was a decision that had to be made and we believe that a colour should not be anyone’s patrimony. In any case, it is Barca white.”

Barca have occasionally wore white as their away shirt, including several times during the 1970s, when club legend Cruyff first joined as a player from Ajax, later going on to revolutionise the club as head coach.

After 1979, though, the club took the decision to move away from the colour. Away kits since have come in a range of shades, including yellow, orange, grey, blue, black and turquoise, among others.

Barca’s home kit for the new season remains more familiar, with their traditional red and blue stripes, albeit with a nod to their record-breaking women’s team.

A shimmering diamond graphic has been set into the famous club badge as a reference to the shape of the original crest first used by FC Barcelona Femeni over 50 years ago.

Barca’s first friendly in the United States, against Juventus in Santa Clara, was called off last weekend due to the outbreak of a viral bug among the players.

They have recovered for Wednesday’s match against Arsenal, though, with Madrid to follow in a Clasico in Dallas on Saturday. They then close their preseason tour against AC Milan in Las Vegas next Tuesday.

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