With the focus on the World Cup and most of the best players in the world, I realised there are some iconic football numbers, both at international and club level. Numbers with a history and tradition that mean something. The most obvious one of course is the Brazil number 10 shirt.
How about this for a list of famous players to have teased us over the years whilst wearing this jersey – Pele (1957-70), Zico (81-87), Rivaldo (97-05), Ronaldinho (04-09), Kaka (09-15) and Neymar Jnr. at present. That shirt and number just spells outrageous skills.
You would have to say they edge their great South American rivals, Argentina, although they too are stacked in the number 10 jersey. Both Messi and Maradona are considered 2 of the all time greats, whilst Mario Kempes wore it to help them win a World Cup Final. Even Carlos Tevez wore it at U20 and Olympic level.
At club level there are lots of contenders spread across the globe . The old timers like to reminisce and talk of the famous Newcastle United number 9’s. These range from Jackie Milburn, Malcolm McDonald, Les Ferdinand, Andy Cole, and Alan Shearer.
Naturally the leading Spanish clubs are well stocked. Check out this list of players to have worn number 10 for Real Madrid – Modric, Rodriguez, Ozil, Sneijder, Robinho, Figo and Seedorf. That is a world class collection of the best midfielders.
Barcelona chip in with some big name strikers wearing their number 9 shirt, such as Suarez, Sanchez, Ibrahimovic, Eto’o, Kluivert and Ronaldo. Now there’s goals in that group.
In England, Liverpool have a tradition of some outstanding players wearing number 7. These include Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Aussie Craig Johnston, Steve McManaman and Luis Suarez.
However for passion, tradition and impact at club level I think the highest regarded number is Manchester United’s 7. Some of the great’s to have worn that include George Best, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Christiano Ronaldo. There’s almost an annual quest to find a player who can live up to the standards required by their demanding fans to replace the icons who’ve worn this jersey previously.
What other teams and numbers can you add to this list?