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by Alex Bellos

Even if you don’t know who Aldyr Garcia Schlee is, you are definitely acquainted with his creation.

In 1953 he designed the Brazilian football strip. The yellow shirt with green collar and cuffs is today the best-known outfit in world sport – not just international football.


The shirt was first worn in 1954. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary we asked Aldyr – who is now 69 – to write us a personal history of the shirt through all the World Cups between 1954 and 2002.

This is the result. It is a wonderful and moving story through Brazilian football, Brazilian history, Aldyr’s life and the life that the shirt took once he designed it.

THE LITTLE CANARY

by Aldyr Garcia Schlee

In 1953, because of their defeat in the 1950 World Cup final, right there in the Maracanã, it was decided that the Brazilian national football team would change the colours of its strip.


What had been white and blue (or blue and white), would have to change to have the four colours of the national flag – yellow, green, blue and white.

Thanks to a competition that I won out of 301 entries, since then and for the last 50 years Brazil has played in a yellow shirt with green detailing, blue shorts and white socks – exactly as I suggested in my design.

Thanks to a competition that I won out of 301 entries, since then and for the last 50 years Brazil has played in a yellow shirt with green detailing, blue shorts and white socks – exactly as I suggested in my design.

On the day that the strip was worn for the first time by a player it was presented, together with me, to a group of five players from Rio’s clubs (Pinheiro of Fluminense; Rubens, of Flamengo; Ademir, of Vasco da Gama; Zizinho, of Bangu; and Nilton Santos of Botafogo).

I didn’t know what to do in front of those perplexed, sacred monsters of my admiration. I doubt that they even had anything to say to me either, when they posed, aghast, for a picture with the yellow shirt, the blue shorts and the white socks that I had handed them.

Nevertheless, I will never forget Zizinho’s rogueish smirk (he was out of the national sqaud, for political reasons) and what he whispered to me, I’m not sure as a statement or a warning. Zizinho, holding my arm lightly and speaking quietly, so no one would hear him, smiled and said: “This is all shit!”

This was my first and difinitive lesson in football. As for the shirt they call “the Little Canary”, it would end up being consecrated by the following successes of Brazilian football – and it would become, not that I was responsible for this, one of the most recognised and important Brazilian national symbols…


Click the link of each year to read each chapter.



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1954.shtml



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1958.shtml



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1962.shtml



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1966.shtml



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1970.shtml



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1974.shtml



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1978.shtml



http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1982.shtml

 


http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1986.shtml




http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1990.shtml




http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1994.shtml




http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_1998.shtml




http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts_2002.shtml



To visit this site:

http://www.futebolthebrazilianwayoflife.com/shirts.asp

 

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