With so many teams’ nicknames featuring animals, it is unsurprising that the animal kingdom has been represented in several forms on football shirts, from Congo to Korea, Mexico to Italy.
Beasts both real and mythical have graced football shirts in times past. From bold tiger-stripe designs à la Hull City to hidden panthers à la Napoli, animal-based designs certainly catch the attention and get fans talking. After all, there is something particularly compelling about coming face to face with a lion or a wolf that lends itself to football shirt design. But there’s only a small portion of the animal kingdom that dominates – unsurprisingly, sloths, anteaters, et cetera, haven’t made their mark just yet.
Fortunately, however, there’s plenty of wild designs out there and we turned to Twitter to gauge the winners when it comes to the best football shirts with an animal theme.
Crocodiles may not be the first choice when it comes to animal designs, but Sogam Sportswear’s 2019 design for Congolese side TP Mazembe deserves top spot.
No line-up would be complete without this South Korea 2020 beauty, courtesy of Nike.
Can’t look past this, personally. Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/zfvqI47ven— Kurtan Cobain (@martynhadadream) June 26, 2020
There was no Three Lions in contention, but instead this throwback from Los Leones (The Lions).
Athletic Bilbao 1997-98 pic.twitter.com/lp9fYaZdlR— Ryan ライアン (@rmccue96) June 26, 2020
The mythical beast featured most prominently in our call-out, with some standout designs.
China— ともさん（サッカーユニフォームの世界） (@olaroupeiro) June 26, 2020
There are few shirts that take their design to the max quite like the Pumas.
El "macho" Hugo Sánchez con Pumas UNAM. pic.twitter.com/U90wUCCS89— Yiyaka (@yiyegrit) June 26, 2020
Not quite the formidable beast of the wild, but a classy addition to the Pescara 2018/19 shirt. (NB. Honourable mention too to the 2020 restart shirt, designed by a six-year-old fan.)
Pescara 2018/2019. pic.twitter.com/mLuiQxqWCh— Dika Erlangga (@TekelBrutal) June 26, 2020
This 2014/15 Besiktas away shirt gets our seal of approval.
And finally we end with perhaps the most sublime or ridiculous offering of the lot, depending on your taste…
So there we go, a eclectic selection of football shirts based on animals. If you enjoyed this series, be sure to follow us on Twitter to join in with our daily shirt discussions. If you’re lucky, you may even feature in our next piece.