European club kit ranking: Who has 2023-24's best threads?

Illustration by ESPN

After reviewing and ranking every Premier League kit for the 2023-24 season last week, it's only right that we afford the same level of intensive inspection to the great and good of European football.

Here we have scrutinised all the home, away and, where applicable, third alternate jerseys unveiled by the biggest clubs in Europe's top leagues -- Spain's LaLiga, Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A, France's Ligue 1 and the Netherlands' Eredivisie.

While most of the clubs featured here qualified directly for the group stage of this season's Champions League, a few are legacies allowed in on the basis of their size and history. A European Super League of Kits, if you will.

We have compiled all the kits from those clubs that have been released so far -- with more to be added as and when they are unveiled -- and ranked each side by their collective output to determine which is the most stylish club on the continent this season.

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19. RB Leipzig (Nike)

Home: RB Leipzig, never shy when it comes to zany kit concepts, have enlivened their white home jersey with a garish arch of red zigzags that span over the shoulders.

Away: However, that pales in comparison to the away shirt, which appears to have been designed by a committee whose members never met or indeed communicated in any way while piecing it together. Featuring blue and red quadrants with a nauseating wave effect does not make for easy viewing.

18. Lens (Puma)

Home: A retro-styled yellow shirt with thin red striping along the flanks and neat tricolour cuffs. The shirt also carries a thank-you to the Lens fan base for their continued support with a message that reads "Pour l'amour du maillot" ("For the love of the jersey") inside the collar.

Away: An uncomplicated black jersey with alternating red and yellow pinstripes, which this time carries the message: "Dans le malheur ou la gloire" ("In adversity or glory.")

Third: This white shirt has two-tone vertical stripes in the side's traditional club colours and a collar to match. Inside we have the words "Nous on est là" ("We are here.") That completes the popular chant sung by the home fans at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, which they will be taking across Europe this season as they embark on their first Champions League campaign in 20 years.

17. Feyenoord (Castore)

Home: A fundamental kit recipe unchanged for well over 100 years, Feyenoord are half-red and half-white once again. The overlapping V-neck collar is the only main difference between this and last year's home shirt, in which they won the Eredivisie title.

Away: The Dutch champions have also stuck with a blue palette for their away kit for the second year running, though the 2023-24 version is much more appealing thanks to navy panelling on the shoulders, white piping and a stylish tonal print.

16. Borussia Dortmund (Puma)

Home: Dortmund ran a competition to allow fans to design their new home shirt, and a final shortlist of nine designs was put to an online vote (always a risky move.) The winner was this dull sketch of the Signal Iduna Park roof joists that, to the untrained eye, looks a bit like a funnel of the Titanic sinking beneath the waves.

Cup: As per usual, Dortmund have released a specific kit for their matches in cup competitions that is essentially an auxiliary home jersey. The black collar is nice and, had the rest of the jersey been plainer, this could have worked nicely. However, the geometric print brings to mind a screwed-up ball of paper, which is the fate this design should have been dealt.

15. Real Sociedad (Macron)

Home: Designed in collaboration with local Basque artist Iñigo Manterola, La Real's blue stripes have a rough, textured, three-dimensional quality to make them look sculpted. A simple all-black collar and cuff arrangement completes the look.

Away: The away kit is white with navy trim and a single, off-centre Manterola column that runs vertically through the club crest.

Third: There's nothing particularly wild about the third kit either: a basic colour inversion of the away jersey with a dark blue base and white detailing.

14. Union Berlin (Adidas)

Home: At the very least Union Berlin will look the part as they prepare to begin their first Champions League adventure. The home shirt is a bright, beaming red field with prim white trim and a single-button collar, all topped off by that gloriously distinctive club crest.

Away: The away kit is a standard colour flip, which makes the all-over graphic -- a jacquard print inspired by the section dividers dotted around the terraces at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei -- a little more visible.

Third: Rather fittingly for a club who play on the edge of a forest, Union have unveiled a leafy green third kit with lustrous gold trim. The jersey also has a hexagonal graphic on the front, although it is merely part of the Adidas template rather than a bespoke design.

13. Sevilla (Castore)

Home: Sevilla's traditional colours are represented in straightforward fashion, although a geometric background print inspired by local ceramic art does add a little extra texture. The striped collar also introduces some retro zeal to the mix.

Away: According to the club, the hectic wavy stripe pattern on this red away jersey is an homage to the travelling fans who regularly create a thronging mass of colour and noise while watching their team on the road.

Third: Sevilla by night is the theme for the dark and moody third alternate kit, which mixes nocturnal blacks and blues with flashes of neon magenta, along with a pattern lifted from the traditional azulejo tiles associated with the region of Andalucía.

12. Napoli (EA7)

Home: Winning Serie A last time out has allowed Napoli to proudly add the scudetto (shield) to their new home shirt. The red, white and green tricolore of the Italy flag are also in situ on the collar and cuffs, while there is a thin white seam to separate the sleeves from the trunk of the shirt.

Away: This white shirt is embedded with a pale grey graphic of Mount Vesuvius, which looms above the city of Naples while the collar, cuffs and piping are a simple, contrasting shade of black.

11. Lazio (Mizuno)

Home: Lazio's new kits mark the 50th anniversary of the club's first Serie A title, with the home shirt bearing hallmarks of those worn by the renowned team of 1973-74, principally the V-neck and cuffs with nimble white beading. The club's Olympia eagle crest is also embossed within the fabric to give the whole thing a modern look.

Away: The away jersey is dark blue with two-tone ribbing and contrasting tricolore bands on the sleeve cuffs. The colour is meant to reflect the strength and courage of their mid-1970s team, led by legendarily tenacious striker Giorgio Chinaglia -- although precisely how is anybody's guess.

Third: Again intended as a tribute to the Class of 1974, the third shirt is splendid in white and comes with a very smart chain-link pattern woven into the navy collar and cuffs.

10. Roma (Adidas)

Home: While Roma had to settle for a place in the Europa League this season, they will at least grace the stage in a sumptuous deep red kit festooned with bright golden trim. The new Giallorossi jersey also sees a return for the classic "Lupetto" wolf's head club crest.

Away: Roma's away kit features an off-white marble colour base, which is also used by the Italy national side. Embedded within is a repeating floral pattern based on mosaic flooring dating from the ancient Roman era.

9. AC Milan (Puma)

Home: A fresh spin on Milan's famous stripes, but that chevron effect makes it look like the Rossoneri's new home shirt has been laid out in the road during rush-hour traffic.

Away: The club have billed this as the latest version of their "lucky" white away colours, which have been worn while winning six of their European Cups. The fabric pattern is inspired by the traditional repeating motifs of Milan's famous fashion houses, while the rossoneri colours are present in a single vertical bar that also houses the club crest.

8. Juventus

Home: As has become customary in recent years, Juventus have given their iconic stripes another radical overhaul with a fuzzy "zebra print" effect and eye-catching bright yellow trim. Adidas says that the stripes are to resemble the coat of the Turin club's adopted animal mascot.

Away: Inspired by the Italian Alps, the white, silver and pink banded kit features a rugged texture print as a nod to the Monte Rosa (Pink Mountain) cliff face that dominates the Turin skyline.

7. Atletico Madrid

Home: After meddling with the traditional format for the past few years, 2023-24 sees a return to the "Pure Atletico" look -- plain, pared down and unaffected red and white stripes with minimal trim. Gone are the hideous wavy stripes of last season. ¡Genial!

Away: Atleti are using their new away kit to celebrate the club's 120th anniversary with an unusual blue and white half-and-half design as used by the club pre-1911, after which they adopted the red-and-white stripes used by Athletic Club. A little unexpected, but a refreshing change nonetheless.

6. Paris Saint-Germain

Home: PSG's home kit harks back to the early 2000s, when exciting foreign players such as Ronaldinho, Pauleta, Mauricio Pochettino and Gabriel Heinze helped deliver the 2003-04 Coupe de France. The familiar dark blue bed is emblazoned with a wide, offset vertical version of the famous "Hechter" stripe, while the tonal graphics and fading white streaks are intended to represent the architecture of the Parisian skyline by night.

Away: A plain white shirt is decorated by a central band around the midriff that, like the vertical stripe on the home jersey, shifts from red to blue in colour. An unfussy design that nevertheless makes an impact.

5. Bayern Munich

Home: Primarily white for the first time in 12 years, Bayern have removed all of the blue elements from their home kits of recent years after they proved unpopular with fans. The crisp white torso with bright red sleeves stands as a nod to the first-ever kit worn by the club in their first season in Germany's national top division in 1932.

Away: A shimmering black base forms the "ocean" on which a world map is laid out in neon pink and green lozenges, symbolising all the various official Bayern supporters' clubs scattered around the globe -- from New York to Tokyo.

Third: Bayern's third kit is intended for Champions League duty and comes in the form of an off-white shirt with a stylised floral print that is an ode to the various wild flora of the Bavarian mountains -- the idea being that the shirt will remind fans of home wherever in the world they might be. The club crest used is also Bayern's old "FCBM" design, which originally dates from 1923.

4. Barcelona

Home: Barca's classic broad blaugrana stripes make a welcome return on an uncluttered shirt that includes several subtle historical references to the club's inaugural women's teams of the 1970s -- most notably the vintage crest that contains a diamond-shaped shield also mirrored in the angular weave of the fabric.

Away: What could have easily been a perilously bland white jersey is made to stand out by the vivid blue and red trim. According to Nike, the shirt is inspired by the Catalans' alternate kits of the 1970s, as worn by club legend Johan Cruyff. It also uses the period-appropriate club crest (the 1975-2002 design) rather than the modern version.

3. Real Madrid

Home: Real Madrid are nicknamed Los Blancos for a reason, but this season the Spanish giants' iconic white home kit is exquisitely adorned with regal gold and navy trim.

Away: This dark navy jersey has an "infinity" pattern print running right across it to, says Nike, symbolise the everlasting support of Madridistas for their beloved club. Although the design spiel is dubious at best, the shirt itself is extremely handsome.

Third: Curiously similar to their away kit, Madrid's third alternate shirt is all-black, with only honey gold accents to distinguish the crest, manufacturer's logo and sponsor. The club states that the jersey is a tribute to some of the iconic Real kits of the past, and, given that they have worn black with regularity since the year 2000 or thereabouts, we suppose that's fair enough.

2. Ajax

Home: It's almost impossible to get an Ajax home kit wrong, as proved by the 2023-24 edition. The famous red "apron" is surrounded by an array of equally fine design details, including delicate pinstripes and a centralised club crest.

Away: This shirt continues a long sequence of gorgeous away kits for the Dutch giants. The wobbly pink and green Spirograph-style print is, the club say, a visual reference to the club's home Zuidoost (Southeast) neighbourhood in Amsterdam.

Third: Another winning design, Adidas says this sumptuous black shirt with a smoky grey diamond print makes reference to the gemlike quality of the players produced by the Amsterdam club's De Toekomst youth academy.

1. Inter Milan

Home: Last season's Champions League finalists say those timeless nerazzurri stripes have been pixelated and blurred to visually represent the "diverse influences" that make up Milan as a city. How seriously one should take that noble notion is debatable, but the colours are spot-on and the yellow details laid over the top look ace. After unwisely experimenting with zigzags and snake print in recent years, this could be the best Inter have looked at home for some time.

Away: Inter have strong pedigree when it comes to suave away kits. This year they have plumped for a white shirt with a diagonal sash in black and blue that switches colour orientation in the middle where the sash fades and blurs around the midriff to clear a space for the sponsors' logo. Bellissimo!