With the 2023-24 campaign now up and running, fans of Europe’s top clubs have had the chance to check out their side’s new kits in action.
But while the biggest teams in the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 can strut their stuff between kick off and the final whistle in their brand new home, away and third kits, they also have more in their locker.
Whereas the patterns for jerseys worn for matches tend to be based around a particular concept or rooted in club tradition, when it comes to the shirts worn during the warm-up the designers are allowed to really run wild with their most creative ideas — for better or worse.
Having already ranked this season’s kits in the Premier League and across Europe’s other top divisions, it’s only fair that we apply the same sartorial scrutiny to each top club’s prematch apparel, too.
Here we present a rogue’s gallery of the good, the bad and the ugly 2023-24 warm-up shirts that are already being paraded around stadiums across the continent.
AC Milan (Puma)
Debuted during their preseason tour of the United States, Milan’s famous red-and-black stripes were given a unique, zig-zag overhaul ahead of their arrival in Las Vegas. We wholeheartedly approve.
In spite of their divisive fluorescent yellow away kit, the Gunners have generally fared well in the fashion stakes this season and their warm-up shirt maintains that standard. The red top is decorated with the club’s popular “lightning” motif, first used on a fan-favourite away kit in the mid-1990s that has been revived in recent years.
Bayern Munich (Adidas)
Bayern’s new home kit may be predominantly white instead of their more traditional red, but they have made up for it with their home warm-up kit. The pattern is a glorious riot of jagged and shaded edges.
They may not have a 2023-24 away or third kit released yet, but at least Chelsea have a shirt to limber up in before games. The deep blue “liquid camo” pattern and luxurious gold detailing are an eye-catching combination.
Roma have excelled with their stripped-back, classically apportioned kits this season and their warm-up jersey is no different. Effortlessly suave with no frills and the vintage “Lupetto” wolf’s head crest looks marvellous, too.
Atletico Madrid (Nike)
Maybe it’s the pattern, maybe it’s the clashing colours, but this is a busy, abstract design which doesn’t quite hit the mark. Still, Antoine Griezmann liked it enough for him to dye his hair to match.
Borussia Dortmund (Puma)
Dortmund are rightly proud of their club colours (their English-language social media accounts use the handle “@BlackYellow” for a reason. However, this shirt is instantly forgettable.
The wild zebra theme that Juventus have adopted for their 2023-24 home kit extends to the corresponding prematch shirt, which also bears a monochrome animal print. The contrasting gold details are a nice touch but the thin vertical bars in the background make it all a bit much for the eyes.
The vertical lines look like those you’d find on corrugated cardboard, and the layout of the lettering would make the uninitiated viewer think they were watching the players of “CLF” rather than “LFC.”
Manchester City (Puma)
For whatever reason, Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning champions are planning to defend their magnificent 2022-23 trophy haul by warming up in what appears to be an imitation Wolves jersey.
Manchester United (Adidas)
Manchester United have used the Red Devil on their club crest to create a swirly, jumbled pattern but the result is a blurry, smudged mess. Not exactly terrible but not overly convincing either — a bit like United at the moment.
Paris Saint-Germain (Nike)
PSG’s blotchy prematch shirt makes it look as though the wearer has had a nightmare while trying to change the ink cartridge on a printer.
As the famous proverb goes, “a camel is a horse as designed by committee.” That could easily be applied to this eyesore, which is a chaotic clash of at least three different design concepts on one shirt.
Inter Milan (Nike)
This jarring static pattern on Inter Milan’s warm-up shirt is so busy it practically “hums” like a nest of angry blue and black wasps. Perhaps that’s the idea, but it’s just unsettling.
RB Leipzig (Nike)
More ghastly fare from a club that have seemingly made it their business to look as garish as possible, but they have outdone themselves with this retina-burning design that appears to be inspired by thermal imaging.
Real Madrid (Adidas)
More hopelessly grotesque stuff from the other side of the Clasico divide. Madrid prove they are refusing to be outdone by their Catalan rivals when it comes to producing some of the ugliest football jerseys to be found anywhere this season.
Tottenham Hotspur (Nike)
Like a migraine in lilac, we feel it would be unwise to stare at Spurs’ latest warm-up shirt for any longer than a few seconds lest your frontal cortex spontaneously implode.