Despite a rainbow of colors to choose from when picking the right look for a soccer jersey, it’s no coincidence that many teams seem to gravitate to certain colors. Blue, yellow, green, and red seems to stand out time and time again. And out of all the primary colors, soccer teams in red seem to stand out the most.
Teams of winners, clubs that seem to always be challenging for titles and trophies, all seem to have gravitated towards a red jersey, often with red shorts and socks too, but why is this? A power color that adds a feeling of confidence, or just sheer luck?
Let’s look at some of the best teams ever to play with a red jersey on their back.
7. AFC Ajax
- League: Eredvisie (Netherlands)
With their bright red jersey and a team of some of the most talented youngsters in world soccer, AFC Ajax of Holland has been one of the most consistent performers in the Dutch Eredivisie for over a century.
Having had to change their kit upon promotion to the top division, Ajax has played with a thick red stripe down their jersey since 1911.
Consistently outperforming in Europe as well as domestically, and with a swashbuckling style of play that has brought fans across the globe, Ajax is comfortably the best team in Holland, A change of jersey is unlikely any time soon, as their continued successes mean that the Ajax jersey is easily identifiable anywhere in the world.
6. SL Benfica
- League: Primeira Liga (Portugal)
One of the three best teams in the Portuguese league, Benfica have a rich and successful history and boasts one of Portugal’s greatest players ever as one of their own.
In Eusebio, Benfica had a world-class player, and it was with his help that during a period of dominance in the 1960s and 1970s that the famous red shirt of Benfica won two European Cups and 14 domestic leagues in two decades.
Benfica has used their red jersey for home games since at least 1905, and aside from a few small cosmetic changes, have retained the fully red jersey that has become synonymous with success in Portuguese soccer.
The motto on the Benfica crest “Out of many, one” symbolizes the club’s unity, and it is no surprise that the famous red jersey remains untouched given the incredible success the Portuguese giants have achieved wearing it.
5. FC Bayern Munich
- League: Bundesliga (Germany)
Bavarian juggernaut Bayern Munich is without doubt one of European soccer’s powerhouses, with an almost unprecedented level of success in German soccer. Famed for their all-red soccer kit, with socks, shorts, and jersey all blood-red, the Bundesliga giants have won 10 consecutive titles since 2013.
With 32 national leagues, as well as six Champions League titles in their huge trophy room, Bayern is the most successful and dominant team German soccer has ever seen.
Wearing the infamous jersey of Bayern Munich can often give the team a psychological advantage before a ball is even kicked, as teams know that in full flow, Bayern is one of the toughest teams on the planet.
4. Arsenal FC
- League: Premier League (England)
Arsenal FC, or the Gunners to their loyal supporters, have been a mainstay of the Premier League since its inception. The red jersey of Arsenal, with its distinctive crest, has long been a byword for style and quality soccer. The Invincibles team of 2003/04 remains the only Premier League team to go a whole season undefeated.
Arsenal has kept their famous red jersey for over a century, having first changed their kit to red in the late 1920s. Whilst things may not have been going Arsenals’ way over recent years, manager Mikel Arteta has a young and talented squad of players, and the future looks bright for Arsenal FC.
3. AC Milan
- League: Serie A (Italy)
With an astonishing 19 Seria A titles and 7, yes 7, Champions League wins under their belt, there is no chance of leaving out the famous Rossoneri, famed as much for their red and black jersey as they are for their impeccable history. One of the most successful teams in soccer history, for many years teams were truly terrified of playing AC Milan.
Blessed with having some of the greatest players ever to play soccer on their team sheet, players like Paolo Maldini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Andrea Pirlo made wearing the famous red shirt of Milan one of the most feared sights in soccer.
Their “Three Dutchmen, comprising of Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit, and Marco van Basten, led the team to unprecedented success in the 1980s, making the Milanese club one of the best teams in European soccer.
A resurgence in the fortunes of AC Milan recently has led to the famous Italian team finally winning another Serie A title in 2022, meaning the Rossoneri will be playing Champions League soccer again next season.
With talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic finally retiring (?) at the age of 40, the team will need to push on without him if the red and blacks are to re-establish themselves at the top table of world soccer.
2. Manchester United
- League: Premier League (England)
With a nickname like The Red Devils, it’s no surprise that Manchester United makes our list, and as one of the most successful soccer teams England has ever had, they can feel unlucky that they only make the second spot.
Since the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, United has suffered a sharp decline in fortunes, it’s to be hoped that incoming manager Erik ten Hag can turn things around at Old Trafford. With several new signings expected, there is optimism at the club that the sight of a red army of manchester United shirts will start to strike fear into the opponent’s hearts again.
Once feared by every team on the planet, the Red Devils are now seen as an achievable scalp for opponents, especially as the team isn’t as competitive as it once was.
The name though, lives on, and Manchester United should be written off at your peril, after rebuilding after the loss of the Busby Babes, it is surely possible to come back stronger after the retirement of Alex Ferguson.
1. Liverpool FC
- League: Premier League (England)
Coming in at number one on our list is the famous red shirts of the dominant Liverpool team, who under legendary manager Bill Shankly chose the all-red strip that has become an Anfield icon since 1964.
Under manager Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool has again risen to a dominance not seen since the 1980s and shows no signs of slowing down.
With more silverware than a large kitchen drawer, Liverpool swept away all teams before them during several periods of domestic and European dominance. 19 Premier League titles and six Champions League titles put Liverpool firmly in the top spot. With 11 of the best soccer players on the planet striding onto the pitch in their famous red jerseys, teams are already at a disadvantage.
With almost constant domination during the 1970s and 1980s, Liverpool creep into the top spot over Manchester United due to their recent resurgence.
After not winning the Premier League since 1990, Liverpool finally broke their run of bad luck by taking the crown back in 2020. And with several appearances in Champions League finals over the past decade, it looks like the wheel has finally turned for Liverpool FC.
It is no surprise to see some of the greatest clubs in world soccer plying their trade in red, a color often associated with power and strength. Every team on our list is, or was, a dominant force either at home or abroad, often both at the same time.
Even those that are currently suffering a decline in fortunes still have an air about them that suggests they won’t be down for long.
Household names with rich histories, and often with trophy cabinets that have to be extended every few years, there’s a reason why these teams don’t change their colors. Winning breeds winners, and these clubs are perennial winners.