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Love letter to River Plate's jersey

Five jerseys help us to retrace the legend of the millonarios

Love letter to River Plate's jersey Five jerseys help us to retrace the legend of the millonarios

The charm I feel for Club Atlético River Plate is something rare. It's a club for strong hearts, the one, in the rivalry with Boca Juniors, to were dramatically relegated in the second division - and because of this indelibly marked - and then, like a phoenix, risen from their ash and started one of the most glorious winning cycle in the history of South American football, ended with the victory of the second Copa Libertadores in a three years period, just against the eternal xeneizes rivals, in the very first Superclasico had in the last double final of the tournament. In short, a circle that closes.

For me, River Plate is Pablo Aimar, Gabriel Omar Batistuta, Javier Saviola, “El Burrito” Ortega or “El Príncipe” Enzo Francescoli. River Plate is mostly "La Banda", the transverse red stripe that separates the Argentinians' jersey from the left shoulder to the right hip, adopted for the first time in 1905 to distinguish themselves from the others club, which wore a simple white shirt just like them. It was the historical President Antonio Vespucio Liberti - after which the River stadium, El Monumental, located in the Núñez barrio, in Buenos Aires, is named - to consolidate the shirt with the diagonal red stripe, saying to the team that they would fight for it, because "it was the River Plate's jersey". Since then, the River's shirt has become a timeless icon, enough to dedicate to it a love letter. Let's retrace the story of the millonarios through five jerseys which have marked their way towards the legend.


Home, 1995/1996

The last Copa Libertadores of the team Campéon del Siglo, the swan song of a club capable of conquering almost everything in the second half of the 90s and to gift to the football world rising stars like Julio Cruz, Hernán Crespo and Ariel Ortega, to name the most important. In those years, River Plate were indomitables, and only Juventus were capable of stopping them in the Intercontinental Cup final in 1996. What about the shirt worn during all those victories? It was a hymn to tradition: a transversal red stripe, red and black details and an immaculate white background.


Home, 1996/1997

If there is a River Plate's jersey that is remembered for its typically 90s design, this is the home jersey for the 1996/1997 season. Wide collar, oversize fit, classic design and a pattern born from the diagonal reproduction of the crest of the millonarios are the ingredients for this iconic shirt, chosen to celebrate River and their story following the win of the Copa Libertadores in the past season. In addition to this, this is the last jersey worn by a column of the Argentinian club, the current director of sport, Enzo Francescoli


Home, 2000/2001

The River Plate's home jersey for the 2000/2001 season simply close a chapter of their story: it's the last shirt with La Banda for two legends who came out from the always productive academy of the millonarios, Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola, who will land in Europe in 2001, but it's also the first club shirt for another cult player like Andrés D’Alessandro. All three will then return to El Monumental to say goodbye. The shirt has its traditional design, enriched by black details, like the colour of the collar or the sponsor.


Home, 2015

The home jersey for the 2015 season takes up a detail from the 1996/1997 home shirt, that are the adidas three stripes which circle the border of the sleeves. Otherwise, it's simple, clean, just like it wanted to leave the task of amaze and excite to the wearers, the players, who returned on the rooftop of South America that year. It was the first Copa Libertadores won after relegation and consequent promotion, and also the first one under Marcelo Gallardo's hands.


Away, 2017/2018

For the 2017/2018 season, River chose to celebrate past and Grande Torino in the same jersey. This is the starting point for the idea of the red coloured away jersey, with a triangles pattern that recalls the away shirt used in 1994. Why the link with Grande Torino? The already cited millonarios' President, Liberti, was the son of Genoese immigrants, and when he knew of the tragedy of Superga he immediately organized a trip by plane with the team to go pay homage to the granata, creating a twinning that persists nowadays.

Which was the technical sponsor of that shirt? Again adidas.