From numbers 1-11, we check out the best players ever to wear their shirts! Also, what are some other interesting numbers?
Number 1 is traditionally associated with goalkeepers. Some of the finest to wear this number include Gordon Banks, Dino Zoff, Manuel Neuer, and Gianluigi Buffon. This shirt number is almost never given to an outfield player. However, Ossie Ardiles and Edgar Davids have worn it.
Defenders usually wear the number 2 shirt. Some of the most famous include Gary Neville who wore that number during his career at Manchester United. Other notable number 2s include Cafu and Ivan Cordoba. Dani Alves was an exception. He wore 2 from midfield at times for Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, and Brazil.
The Number 3 shirt is also traditionally reserved for a defender. This time, however, more normally for left-backs. Ashley Cole, Paolo Maldini, and Roberto Carlos are notable examples.
In years past, the number 4 was often donned by the sweeper in a team, a player who was entrusted to ‘sweep’ the ball upfield whenever an opponent breached the defensive line. Patrick Viera, Ronald Koeman and Sergio Ramos all wore number 4.
Centre-backs typically wear the number 5 shirt, with some notable examples including ex-Barcelona captain Carles Puyol, Fabio Cannavaro, and Franz Beckenbauer. Zinedine Zidane who was a playmaking midfielder also wore the number 5 shirt at Real Madrid.
Also traditionally worn by a centre-back, such as England’s Bobby Moore or Italy’s Franco Baresi, Barcelona midfielder Xavi, however, was a notable exception, as he wore the number 6 shirt.
The number 7 shirt in football is traditionally worn by wingers and second strikers. David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Garrincha, Cristiano Ronaldo, and George Best are some of the greatest in any position to have donned the number 7 shirt.
Box-to-box midfielders often wear 8. Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who is remembered as one of the greatest English attacking midfielders, is a classic example of the number 8 player. Andres Iniesta is another star to have worn this shirt in the past.
This famous shirt is traditionally worn by the main striker of a team. Great players to have worn this shirt include Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Gabriel Batistuta, George Weah, and Marco van Basten. These days the likes of Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski wear 9.
Some of the greatest players in history have worn this number. Diego Maradona, Pele, Michael Owen, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, and Roberto Baggio have all worn 10. Lionel Messi wears it now!
In the past, the number 11 was often given to wingers like Ryan Giggs. However, this isn’t necessarily the case these days. 11 has been worn by strikers as well. The likes of Didier Drogba, Romario and Rivaldo all produced some of their best football wearing number 11.
Other Interesting Numbers
18 or 1+8 – Ivan Zamarano
Every week, the Inter Milan striker gave Italian children a simple maths problem with his choice of number. Brazilian godlike striker Ronaldo was given his favourite number 9 shirt, so the Chilean improvised.
0 – Hicham Zerouali
When Aberdeen fans found out the name of their new Moroccan signing they pleaded with him to take the number zero which he did. Zerouali died in a car crash in 2004 which prompted the club to retire the number as a mark of respect.
80, 84 and 76 – Ronaldinho, Flamini and Shevchenko
In the 2008/09 season, AC Milan signed the trio of Ronaldinho from Barcelona, Mathieu Flamini from Arsenal, and Andriy Shevchenko from Chelsea and they all decided to chose their birth years as their respective squad numbers.