Che Guevara football shirt a big hit

A Brazilian club has attracted attention with a new strip featuring the face of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

Madureira, a third division team from Rio de Janeiro, put Che’s iconic image on their seven-a-side shirts to commemorate a tour of the island they made 50 years ago.

The goalkeeper’s jersey is designed exactly like the Cuban flag.

The new maroon outfield designs, featuring the shadow of the revolutionary’s image, have not yet been used in an official match, but they have proved popular with supporters.

Sales have soared from the usual 10 a month to more than 3000 in the weeks since it was launched.

“The factory can’t keep up with demand,” Madureira’s president Elias Duba told Reuters.

“It’s taken on a whole life of its own.

“I wasn’t going to have the big team use them, but all the attention has convinced me otherwise.”

The club chose to honor Che, the Argentine-born revolutionary who helped Fidel Castro to power in Cuba in 1959, after playing five games there in 1963. Che met the players at their hotel in Havana and was at the last game of their unbeaten tour, Duba said.

The club is now talking to Cuban authorities in the hope it can return there for a pre-season tour in 2014. With their Che shirts.

“It’s really beautiful, one of the nicest shirts I’ve seen in a long time,” said goalkeeper Robertinho. “Even fans of other teams want to buy it.”

You can see photos of the Che shirt here.