Footballers and their squad numbersFootballers are proud folk, and their squad number is more than just a figure – it’s a reflection of their importance to the team. Check out these stories of star players and their beloved shirt numbers
There was a time – not that long ago – when players wore mainly the same 1-11 numbers on the back of their shirts. But the increasing popularity of the game, TV revenues and advertising potential have now turned the numbers players wear into their trademark – think DB7, CR7 and the rest.
Here’s what happens when superstars get the creative license to wear whatever numbers they want.
Like at most clubs, the number 9 is a holy number at HSV. It was worn by club icon and legend Uwe Seeler among others. Kyriakos Papadopoulos broke the age-old tradition when he joined the club on loan in this year’s winter transfer window and became the first defender to have the attacking number on his back.
Edgar Davids was another player who broke the norm in 2013. The then player-manager opted for the number one shirt usually reserved for ‘keepers. Jonathan de Guzmán followed suit last summer, as the midfielder secured the number one shirt at Chievo.
Dennis Bergkamp is a legend at Arsenal and probably the best player to don the number 10 shirt for the club. Arsène Wenger made a smart move in giving William Gallas the number once Bergkamp finally did hang up his boots, taking the pressure off potential replacements for the Dutchman.
World Cup winner, European Championship winner, Champions League winner: the little Frenchman pretty much won everything there is to be won in his career. He also caused quite a stir in the 2005-06 season when he opted for the number 69 on the back of his shirt. The reason behind it is pretty simple: Lizarazu was born in 1969, is 1 metre 69cm tall and weighed 69kg at the time.
Ronaldinho, Andriy Shevchenko and Mathieu Flamini came up with a pretty crazy idea when playing together at AC Milan in 2008. The trio decided to use the year they were born as their squad numbers. Ronaldinho wore the number 80 on his back, Shevchenko 78 and Flamini 84.
Rogério Ceni was an excellent freekick and penalty taker, scoring over 131 goals in his career. Not bad for a goalkeeper! Ceni went all out on July 28, 2005, as he chose to where the number 618 on his back. Why? Because it was his record-breaking 618th game for the club.
When Moroccan striker Hicham Zerouali moved to Aberdeen in 1999, the club’s fans decided to have a little fun with the name, giving him the nickname ‘zero’. Zerouali took it all in good humour and decided he wanted to play with the number on his back, which was made possible thanks to a special ruling by the Scottish FA.