After more than ten years of trying, Manchester City finally reached the final of the Champions League this week, overcoming a PSG side that simply could not handle the pace, movement and precision of Riyad Mahrez and co.
For that final in Istanbul, Manchester City will face Premier League rivals Chelsea, and given that they qualified first, they will be given the chance to wear their traditional sky blue home shirt, with Chelsea likely requiring their controversial third shirt, given the potential clash their 2021 away shirt could have with City’s home colours.
But with all those kit permutations to come, we wanted to celebrate Manchester City’s achievement with a set of concept shirts fitting of Champions League finalists. Cenk Ünal has created three City concept kits, each with a distinctive design. Let’s take a closer look at them!
For all three shirts, Cenk has kept City in Puma – who will make their first appearance in a Champions League final since Borussia Dortmund lost in 2013 – but has added some differential design elements. On the home jersey we get contrasting light and dark shades of the club’s sky blue colours, which help to highlight the coat of arms designs covering the jersey. The classic collar-into-v-neck is also a sleek design point, avoiding the white features that have been the secondary colour on more recent City shirts.
With the away jersey, Cenk has really outdone himself. Perhaps inspired by the custom-look of 2020’s adidas x Humanrace jerseys, this City shirt is a plain white base covered in large paint brush strokes of blue, grey and black. The effect stands out immediately, and if it was ever to be realized, it would be a must-have design for many shirt collectors.
Finally, with the third shirt in this collection, Cenk avoids the controversial Puma designs that we have already seen on some Euro 2020 away kits, and which also appear to be coming to Puma’s biggest European sides, if recent leaks are to be believed. Instead, we are given a dotted design, with the deep purple jersey being lit with opposing shades of purple and once again that all important sky blue. By including City’s main colour in each jersey, Cenk has ensured that a common link runs through each of these magnificent City concept kits.
From mocked to memorable? How will we remember Manchester City’s 2020/21 shirts?
When the leaks of Manchester City’s cracked home shirt design first surfaced, there were many sceptics out there. Their subsequent black and rose gold away shirt may have quelled some disappointment, but that quickly returned when we caught a glimpse of their Madchester third shirt.
And yet despite all of that, this season could see Manchester City win a treble, should they finish the procession walk on their way to the Premier League and beat a challenging Chelsea team in Istanbul. And they would do it all wearing these once maligned shirts. In the years to come, the City shirts of 2021 could go from being “that cracked shirt” to “that shirt we won our first Champions League in”.
Who is Cenk Ünal?
Cenk is a seasoned concept designer, with a signature shirt style and a constant muse behind all of his designs. We have featured his previous designs for South Korea and the two Manchester clubs, as well as an entire Residency series containing some beautiful City concept kits. Keep track of his latest work on Twitter and Instagram.