Remembering Gábor Király & the Tracksuit Bottoms Which Defined a Generation

​"Remember Gábor Király?"

"Is that the dude with the tracksuit bottoms?"

There's a good chance you've had that conversation at some point in the past. Outside of his native Hungary, Király's goalkeeping prowess often flew under the radar, but one thing that always caught the eye were his iconic tracksuit bottoms.

Gabor Kiraly

After 1996, Király brought the huge, baggy joggers to Germany and England, and he instantly became a cult hero for wearing them.

They took the world by storm. What started off as a lucky charm to Király soon became the fashion statement of the century. 

I mean, why look like a professional footballer when you could dress like somebody who was planning to dive head-first into a tub of ice cream with the lights off? Or like a school child who ripped their trousers and had to wear something from lost property?

Gabor Kiraly

We've seen goalkeepers wear tracksuits in the past, but none have ever looked so casual. You could have mistaken him for that scary guy sat at the end of the bar that you try and avoid making eye contact with, or your friend's mate's brother who was just making up the numbers for your Sunday League side.

There was something just so wrong about it, but we all loved it. In England, he would be cheered by fans of every team just because of the tracksuit bottoms, but that's got nothing on the reaction in Hungary.

It's effectively a crime not to own a giant, oversized pair of grey tracksuit bottoms in Hungary, and it's never hard to find somebody paying tribute to Király by wearing them.

Things got so out of hand that Király even started his own brand, any you can buy your own pair of the Pyjama Man's iconic joggers on his ​website. Nobody knows why they want to buy them, but everybody still wants them. If you say you don't, you're only kidding yourself.

They're part of the traditional 'the streets will never forget' discussion, because people see Király's tracksuit in the same light as Adel Taarabt's silky skills or Papiss Cissé's stupidly prolific first season with ​Newcastle United. That's how great it was.

"I'm a goalie, not a top model," Király told ​ "It's essentially a question of comfort. 

"I've played on clay or grass that's been frozen in winter; it makes your legs hurt when you dive so jogging bottoms seemed obvious. I always take a size above to facilitate movement. I tried shorts during my spells in Germany and England but it didn't suit me. The end result is more important than your look."

He's not wrong when he says shorts weren't for him. Let's take a trip back to March 2005, when Király's ​Crystal Palace travelled to ​Chelsea. Wearing shorts for some reason, the Hungarian channelled his inner Rob Green and let a shot through his legs as his side were royally thumped 4-1.

Unsurprisingly, he was back in the tracksuit for the next game.

He wore his famous attire for every game up until his retirement, which surprisingly only came last summer. A 43-year-old Király was still tearing it up for Hungarian side Haladás, but even the magic of the tracksuit couldn't keep him going any longer.


Nowadays, he's running his own goalkeeping school, teaching the next generation how to keep clean sheets and look devastatingly good at the same time. It's information we all need in our lives.

In ​Premier League history, we've seen a few iconic accessories, but none better than Király's tracksuit. He may have hung the trousers up for good, but the memories will live on forever. 

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Source : 90min