More footballers and their beloved squad numbers
Iván Zamorano was the main man at Inter until Ronaldo arrived in 1997 and was given Zamorano’s number 9 shirt. The only alternative Zamorano would have accepted was the number 10, but that was also taken, so the Chilean international opted for the number 18 and stuck a ‘+’ between the two numbers. 1+8=9!
Mario Balotelli was just as creative when he was promoted from the Inter youth team to the first team squad in 2007/08. Julio Ricardo Cruz had the number 9 shirt at the time, so the Italian striker opted for the number 45, because 4 plus 5 is 9! He later went on to wear the number 45 at city rivals AC Milan.
Ronaldo was given the number 9 at Inter, and in 2007 he found himself in Zamorano’s position when he moved to AC Milan. Club legend Filippo Inzaghi was the undisputed number 9 at the time, so Ronaldo decided to get two nines on the back of his shirt and went hunting for goals as the club’s number 99.
Nicklas Bendtner is renowned for his eccentricities, and Lord Bendtner decided to change his squad number from 26 to 52 at the last minute ahead of the 2009-10 season. His reason being that 52 was his lucky number. Those who had bought kits with his old number were given new ones by the Danish international.
Some international teams used to allocate squad numbers in alphabetical order, meaning Netherland’s goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed went into the 1974 World Cup with the number 8 on his back. The only exception was Johan Cruyff. The footballing legend should have played with the number 1 on his shirt because of his surname, but he was allowed to keep his trademark number 14.
Adolfo Bautista Herrera is one of the most successful strikers in Mexican football and he will forever be remembered for his shirt numbers. Between 2004 and 2007, the striker wore the number 99 and 100 for Deportivo Guadalajara.
(You’ll never see an international player with a number higher than 99 on his shirt at a major tournament, because FIFA doesn’t allow three-digit numbers.)