Manufacturer: Ennerre, TuttoSport, Macron
Worn by: Bruno Giordano, Lionello Manfredonia, Vincenzo D’Amico, Gabriele Podavini, Gabriele Pin, Miroslav Klose, Antonio Candreva, Felipe Anderson, Ciro Immobile, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto.
SS Lazio have had their fair share of attractive kits over the years. From the notorious Cirio and Del Monte-sponsored centenary outfits they lifted their second Scudetto in, to the famous Banca Di Roma efforts of the 90s worn by the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Beppe Signori, the Romans have long had an eye for a classy kit.
However, there is one iconic kit that stands above the others: the maglia bandiera (‘flag kit’ in English). The design, first adopted in the 1982/83 season and used three times since, is easily recognisable thanks to the famous Lazio-stylised eagle emblazoned across the chest and arms.
In the 1982/83 season, Lazio occupied Serie B (Italy’s second tier) along with AC Milan. The Biancocelesti had been relegated from Serie A at the end of the 1979/80 campaign and were struggling to bounce back. After two seasons of failed promotion attempts, the club decided reform was needed off as well as on the pitch. At this point, continental European clubs were beginning to take note of the English trend for designing exciting new kits and attracting sponsors to generate extra sales revenue.
This was the perfect opportunity for Lazio to increase their branding and inspire some change on the pitch. As a result, they changed both their kit provider and primary sponsor, ditching both Adidas and Tonini in favour of Ennerre and Séleco respectively. Meanwhile, Lazio President Gian Chiaron Casoni made a personal request to Ennerre founder Nicola Raccuglia to design a revolutionary new kit for the Biancocelesti. The brand, worn by many top Italian clubs as well as the Italian national team, was selected for its tradition and quality.
When the kits were officially presented, the fresh and futuristic design caused a stir, but in a positive way. The eagle across the chest and arms was supposedly the brainchild of Casoni himself. Lazio used the maglia bandiera kit for all but one of of their Serie B and Coppa Italia games that season, the exception being a match against Como where a green kit was employed. Fans fell in love with the design and Lazio looked revitalised as they made their assault on promotion.
Milan topped the table that season, with Lazio second and Catania third as all three were promoted back up to Italy’s top flight. Remarkably, just one point separated second and fifth place. The Roman’s resurgence was, in part, thanks to their kit. Not for any superstitious reasons, but because it restored the hunger and gave fans and players something to unite behind again.
Dark times fell on the club again following relegation in 1985. And after a 12th place finish in in the 1985/86 Serie B campaign, they called upon their iconic kit again. However, in the 1986/87 season, Lazio were docked nine points and dragged into the relegation play-offs. The eagle had not lifted Lazio this time, but they did survive the drop thanks to a 1-0 win over Campobasso.
It was 28 years before Lazio returned to the maglia bandiera, adopting it as a special kit to mark their 115th anniversary in 2015. After the kit was introduced towards the end of January, the Biancocelesti won 12, drew two and lost five of their 19 fixtures, finishing the season in third place and claiming a Champions League spot. Stars such as Miroslav Klose, Antonio Candreva and Felipe Anderson all donned the iconic jersey for the first time, while fans got another chance to get their hands on one of Serie A’s most beautiful designs.
At the start of the 2018/19 season, Lazio adopted the maglia bandiera again, this time for the entire season. The likes of Ciro Immobile, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto will hope its near-magical powers can power them back to the UEFA Champions League.
Words by @snhw_
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