Brazil players receive black jerseys for off-field use during Copa America

Lucio, Daniel Alves, Robinho and company will sport the black shirt with yellow stripe during press conferences and leisure time in Argentina.

The Brazil players received a surprise after arriving at the team hotel in Los Cardales, 60 km from Buenos Aires, late last night: a striking yet atypical black jersey, decorated by a single, horizontal yellow stripe.

The shirt is not registered for use in official matches, even though its markings are akin to those of the country's usual canary-yellow top and second-choice blue one. However, the players will sport the jersey during press conferences and leisure time at the Copa America.

A shock defeat by Uruguay on home soil in the 1950 World Cup final prompted Brazil to abandon their all-white kit, which native fans believed was unpatriotic given that did not correspond with the colours of the Brazilian flag: yellow, green, blue and white.

So, in 1953, a competition was launched to design a kit which incorporated those colours. Aldyr Garcia Schlee, then just 19, emerged the winner of the 301 entrants and his model of canary-yellow shirts with green finishing touches, blue shorts and white socks has since remained a hallmark of the Brazilian national team.

Central to this was, perhaps, the fact that four-and-a-half years after Schlee's uniform was adopted, another teenager, a certain Pele, inspired the South Americans to World Cup glory, though they did wear blue jerseys in the final against hosts Sweden.

In 1996, Nike paid a world-record fee to assume sponsorship of the kit.

Brazil will kick off their Copa America campaign against Venezuela on July 3, before facing Paraguay on July 9 and Ecuador four days later in Group B.

Brazil have won four of the last five editions of the Copa America, though only eight overall – six shy of joint-record champions Argentina and Uruguay.

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