Sergio Ramos has laughed off controversy around Spain’s new shirt for next summer’s World Cup, saying everyone will get behind the players wearing it if they are successful in Russia.
November’s international break in Spain has been dominated by controversy over a hint of purple in the new team jersey, with some conservative nationalists even calling for a boycott due to a supposed nod towards the flag of the 1930s pre-Civil War Spanish Republic.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Adidas jointly issued a statement denying there were any “political connotations” to the choice of design, but RFEF acting president Juan Luis Larrea admitted that the Spanish government was not happy with the colours used and the official kit presentation on Wednesday was scaled back.
Spain captain Ramos told “El Larguero” radio show that people would get behind the jersey once the team wearing it had good results on the pitch.
“I like it,” he said. “People are free to give their opinion and have their own way of seeing it. But above all the jersey [reception] depends on the results. I remember a white jersey which I really liked, but after two bad results it was taken off the market. While we are wearing our badge everything else is secondary for us. Although it’s true we look for colours with which we can identify.”
Reports have claimed that republic-supporting Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias’ liking for the jersey has made it particularly unpopular among those who want to remain a monarchy.
Ramos claimed to love the colour purple, while saying that everything was heightened in the current political climate given Catalonia’s push for independence.
“Purple is my favourite colour,” he said. “I send [Iglesias] a salute from here — he is a fenomeno and will always have his own ideas. Today we were doing the team photo and from a distance it looks a little bit purple, but it is actually dark blue. Hopefully this country soon recovers a bit more stability. These things should not have such importance.”
Spain and Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata also told “El Partidazo” that the detail on the jersey is actually blue, with the radio show bringing in experts to clarify that the purple people think they see is actually an optical illusion.
“I like it,” Morata said. “People look for anything to start a controversy, but it’s good. It’s Spain’s jersey, and if it is blue, it is blue. People need to talk about something.”
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui recalled at a news conference that Spain had played in purple jerseys at the 1994 World Cup, and added that the kit suppliers in this case got to make the call.
“I like all Spain’s jerseys, I remember the World Cup I was at,” he said. “I believe there are more important things to talk about in this country than jerseys. Sometimes we lose all perspective. Adidas decided on this jersey. What matters to me is which players put it on.”