Replica shirts

Italian national team goalkeepers –

The Azzurri goalkeeper kit, in its own way, has always remained the same but different, and somehow inherently very Italian. Gray or black for the home kit seems to be the norm, black shorts and black socks seem to be a pattern and the kit never seems to disappoint.

From Italy 90 to USA 94, from Euro 2000 to Euro 2016, Italian goalkeepers have always looked at the role, Angelo Peruzzi aside – but I wouldn’t say that to the face. Italy have for so long had a strength and depth in the goalkeeping position that is enviable for most, so no matter if you wore the Italian number 1, 12 or 22, I bow to you and can only dreaming of what it must be like to play in goal for the Azzurri.

Please check out my top five Azzurri goalkeeper jerseys, all for very different reasons.

5. Italy Euro 2000 – Kappa and Francesco Toldo

‘Rashies’ anyone?

Toldo, who has visited Italy 28 times, helped his country finish runners-up at Euro 2000, keeping three clean sheets during the tournament and in the epic semi-final against hosts Holland, saving a penalties in regular time and two in the ensuing penalty shootout.

Toldo, huge behind for Italy at Euro 2000

Toldo wasn’t supposed to start Euro 2000 as Azzurri’s number one. Gianluigi Buffon was expected to be Italy’s number one pre-tournament, but Buffon broke his hand shortly before the tournament.

The simple Kappa kit of black socks, black shorts and a gray goalkeeper kit stands out among Azzurri’s form-fitting home shirts. The first of many kits in all codes to be “tight” to prevent the opponent from grabbing your jersey.

In the past, the ‘tight’ kit has been attributed to the spirit of Sir Clive Woodward, when he was the coach of the England national rugby union team or the rugby league team , Bradford Bulls in the English Super League for coming up with the innovation, but we’ll stick with Kappa for now.

Toldo’s performance against Holland was, and in my opinion still is, arguably one of the most commanding individual performances in Azzurri’s recent memory. The number 12 shirt that Toldo wore against Holland, which Christian Abbiati chose to wear number one for the tournament, now takes its rightful place in the Italian football museum in Florence.

4. Italy 1982 World Cup – Le Coq Sportif and Dino Zoff

When I was a kid, my favorite movie was ‘G’ole!’ the official 1982 FIFA World Cup documentary with Sean Connery as narrator. My brother and I watched this video so much that not only did we wear out the tape, but we knew the documentary and Connery’s script word for word.

As a goalkeeper, one of the first goalkeepers I learned about as a kid was Dino Zoff.

Dino Zoff: a vision in wool.

All I knew was that he played for Juventus, he was the captain of Italy and I never got tired of seeing him lift that World Cup trophy. His jersey (if you can even call it that) was simple, classic and there was something about the grey, with the blue collar that won me over.

It looks more like a woolen school sweater than a goalie outfit designed for the world stage. In addition I have always loved the blue socks matched with the black shorts, once again simple but effective. As a youngster playing in goal, I often wore my school sports uniform in training because my school jumper was gray and the collar of my sports shirt was blue.

In my head, I was Dino Zoff.

3. Italy 1994 World Cup – Diadora and Gianluca Pagliuca/Luca Marchegiani

The first time I cried about football was Roberto Baggio being substituted against Norway. By the time the final rolled around, I was a hardened, stoic 16-year-old Azzurri fan. How could Sacchi be so cold, so logical and so decisive in his actions? Unbelievable !

However, this tournament not only featured the above substitution, but also showed Diadora’s best. The Italian kit and goalkeeper kit was one for the ages.

The Diadora Azzurri Goalkeeper Shirt for USA ’94

Featuring a jacquard collar in the national colours, the Italian football association logo sublimated through the fabric, the pyramid V-shape formation of the shirt and a brushstroke pattern to the sleeves, this kit goalkeeper, available in short and long sleeves, was ahead of It’s Time.

I also like that this tournament featured Luca Bucci (who played a game for four different clubs over four seasons – Parma, Pro Patria, Rimini and Napoli – has a player represented a club on so many occasions many times?) third-choice goalkeeper and within two years was to be ousted as Parma’s first-choice goalkeeper by a certain 17-year-old.

I blame the 1988-89 Inter Scudetto winning team for that.

2. Italy 1990 World Cup – Diadora and Walter Zenga

In a team full of superstars, Zenga stole the show, then backed it up with a superb Italia 90′, despite ‘that cross’ against Argentina.

The shiny or “shiny” silver mixed with the home shirt collar hits the mark and true to the form of the late 80s and 90s, it looked like there was no shortage of shoulder and elbow padding. As a bonus, Zenga’s Uhlsport gloves with his name and the Italian flag were so out of this world than what I had seen in Australia at the time. Add to that Zenga’s performances for club and country, and his flying gold chain everywhere, you have a classic kit.

Zenga, unfairly recalled for a single mistake at Italia ’90

1. Italy Euro 2016 – Puma and Gianluigi Buffon

This tournament has sentimental value to me and cannot be topped regardless of the outcome. The Italian goalkeeper shirt worn so valiantly by the great Gianluigi Buffon was once again a simple but beautifully designed shirt and Puma hit the mark here.

Buffon: add a personal touch to his outfit for Euro 2016.

Available in red, black and grey, all three kits were sleek, unassuming minimalist design at its finest. Featuring a hi-vis black, blue and yellow bar on the sleeve on all three kits, complete with common themed black shorts with black socks, this goalkeeper kit set the standard for Puma and the model has been adopted by club teams across Europe.

Buffon was immense in this tournament and saved Italy several times.

His performance against Spain in the quarter-finals was the greatest individual goalkeeping performance I’ve seen in person, especially his save on Gerard Pique who disallowed a goal, still gives me goosebumps at this day when I see the pictures. Buffon added his personal touch to his kit touch by wearing multi-coloured goalkeeper gloves, wearing a pink and a yellow goalkeeper glove.

For me this Italian goalkeeper kit will stand the test of time and remain a classic for years to come.