History of the Brazilian yellow jersey: how the yellow-gold became Brazil's color

Seleção brasileira em 1934 (1934) by Acervo Iconographia Cia da Memória Direitos ReservadosThe Football Museum

The uniform of Brazil

The yellow uniform of the Brazilian national soccer team, known as "canarinho (canary) jersey", became one of the most famous symbols of Brazil. However, it was not born with the Brazilian national footbal team.

Its creation is after the FIFA 1950 World Cup, the year in which the fateful defeat at Maracanã postponed the Brazilian dream of winning its first FIFA World Cup. Irony of fate or not, it was made by the hands of a Brazilian whose heart was on the side of the tormentors: Uruguay.

Meaningless the current CBD jersey (1953) by Correio da Manhã NewspaperThe Football Museum


In 1953, in partnership with the Brazilian Sports Confederation, CBD, then managing body of Brazilian football, the Correio da Manhã newspaper published a competition for the selection of a new uniform for the national team, dressed in white at the time.

The justification was that the white jersey did not carry the idea of Brazilian nationality, as it did with its Uruguayan and Argentinean neighbors. It was a condition of the contest to be present in the uniform the four colors of the Brazilian flag.

Replica of the jersey used by the Brazilian national team, Museu do Futebol, 1930, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Replica of the jersey used by the Brazilian national team, Museu do Futebol, 1950, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Rules of the contest for the new brazilian football jersey (1953) by Correio da Manhã NewspaperThe Football Museum


In the contest rules contained that competitors should consider models for the whole uniform of the players, which included jersey, shorts and socks. In addition, the model chosen could be, at CBD's discretion, used in other sports modalities.
It also established as a condition that the uniform would have to contains CBD symbol in some part of it and do no have the presence of the name "Brazil" and the national flag or conception that could confuse it with it.

Newspaper article about the support of the press to the new jersey´s campaign (1953) by Correio da Manhã NewspaperThe Football Museum


The demand for a new uniform was shared by most people at the time, inside and outside the world of football.

Adermir Menezes' goal in the 1950 World Cup (1950)The Football Museum

A new uniform?

But, if in 1953, there was this public appeal, years before the idea seemed misplaced. In the South American 1916, held in Argentina, Brazil got to wear the green and yellow. The model was abandoned after being rejected by the Brazilian elite: they were not satisfied with the use of national colors in a football uniform!

Newspaper matter shows different opinions about the new brazilian jersey. (1953) by Correio da Manhã NewspaperThe Football Museum

After the defeat in the 1950 FIFA World Cup, a real national tragedy, the contest for a new jersey came to seek a renewal in the mood of the nation on football. And it had relative success. According to the newspaper, more than 300 people competed with graphic designs for the new jersey.

Fonfon magazine about the Brazilian defeat in the 1950 World Cup (1950) by Fon Fon MagazineThe Football Museum

The finalist

But who could imagine that a Brazilian born on the border between Brazil and Uruguay, who cried with defeat in 1950 but also thrilled with the Uruguayan victory, would be the winner of the contest?

Schlee in front of an world map (2007) by Gilberto PerinThe Football Museum


The creator of the "canarinho" jersey, lived at the time of the contest in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, working as an illustrator in the local newspaper. As a teenager, he trained his drawings in the stands of stadiums, making sketches of plays through designed dolls, in the molds of goals reproductions printed in Uruguayan newspapers.

Schlee and his drawings (2007) by Gilberto PerinThe Football Museum


The mandatory presence of the four colors of the Brazilian flag was the biggest challenge of the contest, according to Schlee: "I was scandalized because they demanded that the four colors of the flag had to be used," he recalls. "Up to three colors, okay. But with four it gets really difficult. No team uses four colors. And the four colors of the flag together do not match much. How can you combine yellow and white on a shirt? It ends up with the national colors of the Holy See! "(SCHLEE apud BELLOS, 2003, p.63)

"I made over 100 drawings. I made two tracks with an x. I made a V like Vélez Sarsfield's. I came to the conclusion that the shirt had to be all yellow. "(Idem, p.64)


The author's choice was a blue and white shorts, leaving the green and yellow to the jersey. Schlee thought the green would be inconsistent with blue shorts and then opted for the choice of yellow on the jersey.

When he was painting the final version of the drawing, Schlee used the colors he had on hand: the jersey became yellow-gold and the shorts became cobalt blue. They were not exactly the same colors as the national flag, but the shades were accepted, and so are in the uniform until today.

Sketches by Schlee (1953) by Aldyr Garcia SchleeThe Football Museum

Sketches of players wearing the models of jersey (1953) by Aldyr Garcia SchleeThe Football Museum


The model designs were inspired by the following players: from left to right, Luisinho, Internacional of Porto Alegre, Pinheiro, Fluminense F.C., Ademir Menezes, the Queixada, Vasco da Gama and Baltazar, S.C. Corinthians Paulista.

Models for brazilian jerseys by Schlee (1953) by Aldyr Garcia SchleeThe Football Museum

Replica of the jersey used by the Brazilian national team (1954) by Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Bellini raises the World Cup trophy in 1958 (1958)The Football Museum

Everyone's jersey

The new yellow jersey soon won the sympathy of the fans, that associated it to good luck.

Despite this, in the 1958 World Cup final, when the so dreamed title was very close, the selection of Garrincha, Pele, Zagallo, Didi and so many other stars entered and field without the "canarinho" jersey. In the final between Brazil and Sweden, FIFA had determined that it would be the home team (Sweden) who would play with its official shirt. As both teams wore yellow, Brazil had to improvise their jersey number 2. Paulo Machado de Carvalho, head of the Brazilian delegation in that World Cup, decided that Brazil would play in blue, the color of the mantle of Our Lady of Aparecida, the Catholic patron saint of Brazil.

Replica of the jersey used by the Brazilian national team (1958) by Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

O abraço dos campeões (1994) by Placar | Dedoc Abril Foto Alexandre BattibugliThe Football Museum

A amarelinha

If, until the choice of the Brazilian shirt, there was no unanimous national team shirt design, with the invention of "amarelinha" (another name for the yellow kersey), this issue seems to have been closed. With the conquest of the world, Brazilian "art-football" crossed borders and became known all over the world. Carried by the players, the yellow jersey, used until today, past the football fields and bleachers as well.

Credits: Story

Governador – Geraldo Alckmin
Secretário de Estado da Cultura – José Roberto Sadek
Secretária Adjunta de Estado da Cultura – Lúcia Camargo
Chefe de Gabinete – João Manoel da Costa Neto
Coordenadora da Unidade de Preservação do Patrimônio Museológico – Renata Motta

IDBrasil Cultura, Educação e Esporte
Organização Social de Cultura gestora do Museu do Futebol
Conselho de Administração
Presidente – Carlos Antonio Luque
Vice Presidente – Clara de Assunção Azevedo
Diretor Executivo – Luiz Laurent Bloch
Diretora Administrativa e Financeira – Vitória Boldrin
Diretora Técnica do Museu do Futebol – Daniela Alfonsi

Exposição virtual “História da camisa canarinho”

Realizada a partir da ideia original de Gilberto Perin e Aldyr Garcia Schlee

Curadoria, pesquisa e textos – Aira Bonfim e Fernando Breda
Apoio à seleção de imagens – Camila Aderaldo e Julia Terin
Edição de imagens – Rafael Lumazini
Edição final – Daniela Alfonsi

Realização do Núcleo do Centro de Referência do Futebol Brasileiro – CRFB – do Museu do Futebol
Coordenação – Camila Chagas Aderaldo
Pesquisadora – Aira Bonfim
Assistente de Pesquisa – Fernando Breda
Bibliotecário – Ademir Takara
Assistentes de Documentação – Julia Terin e Dóris Régis
Estagiárias – Ligia Dona e Nivea Souza

Gilberto Perin
Aldyr Garcia Schlee

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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