It is supposed to symbolize nationalism and pride, but Barcelona's controversial "Senyera" strip is proving to be something of an unlucky charm for the Catalan club. In four competitive games in the red and yellow away kit, Gerardo Martino's men are yet to win and have only scored two goals.
Barca's 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday was the fourth official match played in the strip - which features the Catalan colors - and the fourth time the Blaugrana failed to win with it.
The kit was worn by Barca for the first time in the 2-0 loss against Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich in preseason, but made its official debut in the 1-1 tie at Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa, a positive result that set up an away-goals victory after the teams played to a scoreless draw at Camp Nou in the second leg. That was also the match in which Neymar netted his first Barca goal, although it will also be remembered for the first injury suffered by Lionel Messi in 2013-14.
In its second game in the kit, Barca was held to an uninspiring goalless draw at Osasuna, the first time the Catalans had failed to score in 65 league games. The result also meant the Blaugrana missed the chance to set a record for the best start to a season in La Liga, although the point in Pamplona did leave them top of the table as Atletico Madrid went down at Espanyol.
The third match in the Senyera (the name of the Catalans' national flag) strip saw Barca held to a 1-1 draw at AC Milan, but did feature Messi's only goal in October.
Sunday's defeat in Bilbao, meanwhile, was Barca's first Liga loss since March 2, when the Catalans went down 2-1 at Real Madrid. Since then and prior to Sunday's San Mames defeat, the champions had won 23 and drawn three of their previous 26 fixtures in the Primera Division.
Germany's green kit was ditched for bringing bad luck after the 5-1 loss to England in 2001, before returning at Euro 2012, while Manchester United famously changed its infamous gray strip at halftime of a 3-1 loss to Southampton in 1996 after Sir Alex Ferguson complained that his players couldn't see each other.
In its bright red and yellow number, Barca can hardly make that claim, although Atletico, Milan and Athletic all play in kits featuring red stripes, while Osasuna's is all red, so perhaps it would be better to opt for a different color altogether in future.
The Senyera strip is a big seller in Catalunya, but has ostracized many of the club's non-Catalan fans who feel the kit is merely a political tool on the part of president Sandro Rosell. Such is the dislike for the kit that some supporters of the club from elsewhere in Spain have even said they are indifferent about the side's results when Barca plays in the Catalan colors.
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- Atletico Madrid
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