What conjures up soccer gamers’ unusual squad numbers? Clairvoyants, Michael Jordan, fundamental arithmetic


Nearly 11 months since his final aggressive look, Mesut Ozil‘s much-anticipated return to soccer got here this week when he made his debut for Fenerbahce.

The previous Arsenal playmaker, who joined the Turkish membership as a free agent final month, got here off the bench for the ultimate quarter-hour of Wednesday’s 2-1 away win over Hatayspor.

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Ozil, 32, ventured on to the pitch sporting the No. 67 jersey. Beforehand No.10 at Actual Madrid and Arsenal, Ozil plumped for the No.67 at Fener as a nostalgic reference to the postal code of his household’s hometown of Zonguldak in northern Turkey.

Whereas excessive squad numbers have been commonplace in different sports activities within the U.S. and elsewhere for years, it is uncommon to see a marquee signing in soccer willingly select to be listed within the 20s, 30s or past. Here is a have a look at a few of the different gamers who’ve chosen odd squad numbers previously, and their causes for doing so.

18. Ivan Zamorano (1+8)

Zamorano, one of the vital formidable strikers on the planet, wore his favoured No. 9 shirt when he moved from Actual Madrid to Inter Milan in 1996. The next yr, the Italian aspect broke the world switch report to accumulate Brazil star Ronaldo, who took the No. 10 jersey. All was advantageous and balanced, till Robert Baggio arrived in 1998 and wished Ronaldo’s quantity. Ronaldo was then shifted to No. 9 and, whereas Zamorano took the change with good grace, he wasn’t ready to totally give up his fortunate quantity and as an alternative conjured up a ruse to make sure he nonetheless *technically* had the No.9 on his again. All it took was a rummage across the spare vinyl lettering within the package man’s workshop and the appliance of some easy arithmetic.

23. David Beckham

Beckham, having worn the fabled No.7 for Manchester United, was unable to take that quantity when made his large change to Actual Madrid in 2003 as a result of it already taken by Los Blancos star striker Raul. Sporting director Jorge Valdano, provided Beckham No.4 or No.23, with the England worldwide selecting the latter on the idea on his spouse Victoria’s suggestion that “it by no means did Michael Jordan any hurt.” He went on to put on the No.23 shirt for LA Galaxy too, earlier than swapping to No.32 throughout his subsequent mortgage stints with AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

52. Nicklas Bendtner

Proper earlier than the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Arsenal striker Bendtner determined to double his squad quantity up from No.26 to No.52. As you would possibly anticipate, a number of followers have been left aggrieved, particularly those that had already forked out for a duplicate shirt with “Bendtner No.26” on the again. Nonetheless, the ahead did supply to personally reimburse anyone who had made the error.

Because the Denmark worldwide later defined in “Each Sides,” his autobiography: “I change from the No 26 jersey to No 52 jersey due to knowledgeable fortune-teller my mum is aware of. Or a clairvoyant, as she calls herself. She thinks 26 is a s— quantity for me, as a result of 2 + 6 = 8, which is my so-called ‘unhealthy quantity’. She’s discovered this out… one way or the other. In response to the pal, 7 is my fortunate quantity. My power quantity. Sadly, 7 is already taken. And 25 (2 + 5 = 7) was Adebayor’s, which suggests it is all tied up with unhealthy karma. We accept 52 in the long run. When it is made official, everybody thinks it is a trace about my new wages: £52,000 every week.”

He could also be properly established as Liverpool‘s first-choice right-back, in addition to being a Premier League and Champions League winner, however Alexander-Arnold nonetheless eschews the extra orthodox No.2 shirt in favour of his outdated No.66 squad quantity. As revealed by the Reds’ kitman, Lee Radcliffe, the quantity does not maintain any particular cache for Alexander-Arnold, neither is it an try to forge some type of numeric identification for himself.

“While you see him now lifting trophies and celebrating with No.66 on the again, it is a bizarre feeling and I can not actually describe it,” Radcliffe stated. “It is bizarre to see such a excessive quantity and for somebody to be proud of it! “Somebody like Trent has simply been completely satisfied to be across the first group and clearly does not realise how good he’s. He does not actually ask for something, to be sincere. I feel he is that laidback that he is clearly been given the quantity and thought, ‘Yeah, that’ll do me. I am going to hold that,’ and never realised how iconic it is grow to be through the years.”

69. Bixente Lizarazu

Lizarazu wore the normal No.3 left-back’s jersey with nice esteem on the peak of his profession with Bayern Munich. He then left to spend six months at Marseille in his native France, earlier than returning to the Bundesliga giants for one final tour of obligation forward of the 2005-06 season. Nonetheless, together with his well-known No.3 shirt having transferred to Brazilian centre-half Lucio in his absence, Lizarazu was pressured to decide on a brand new quantity for himself. The veteran full-back, aged 35 on the time, picked No.69 which he maintained was merely a reference to his yr of start (1969), his peak (1.69 metres), and his weight (69 kg).

80. Ronaldinho

When Ronaldinho pitched up at AC Milan in 2008, he initially requested the No.10 shirt he’d worn with such distinction at Barcelona, which had additionally grow to be a part of his private branding (“R10”). Sadly, Clarence Seedorf already had that quantity at Milan and wasn’t eager to present it up. Certainly, Milan additionally had an unwritten rule that prevented their gamers from chopping and altering shirt numbers. The Brazilian ahead duly plumped for No.80 as an alternative, in reference to his yr of start. As influential as ever, Ronaldinho’s ploy of taking part in his date of start on his again was copied by two different Milan signings that very same summer time, with the returning Andriy Shevchenko choosing the No.76 shirt and midfielder Mathieu Flamini choosing No.84.

96.2. Mika Lehkuosuo

Not many footballers have efficiently integrated a decimal level into their shirt quantity, however Finnish midfielder Lehkuosuo did precisely that after agreeing a sponsorship cope with a neighborhood radio station. As such, the HJK Helsinki man wore the No.96.2 shirt in reference to the frequency of the station in query. Nonetheless, the deal was short-lived and got here to an finish when UEFA rules prohibited Lehkuosuo from sporting his unsanctioned shirt in Champions League video games.

99. Antonio Cassano

By no means one to bow to conference, Cassano proudly wore the No.99 shirt throughout his time at Sampdoria. The striker had wished the No.18 as his first selection shirt quantity (as a result of 9 plus 9 equals 18), however that was already taken by Hungarian winger Vladimir Koman. Sadly, his second selection, the No.10, was additionally already being worn by Francesco Flachi. Compelled to resort to his third selection, Cassano settled on No.99, revealing as he was offered as a Sampdoria participant that it was partly in homage to Brazilian powerhouse Ronaldo, who was sporting the identical quantity over at AC Milan on the time.

121. Tommy Oar

Australian midfielder Oar famously, or maybe infamously, wore the No.121 jersey on his worldwide debut throughout an Asian qualifier towards Indonesia in 2010. In a squad that already boasted a No.60, 61, 66 and 89, one way or the other it was Oar who nonetheless managed to take to the pitch sporting essentially the most ridiculous variety of all. As weird as it could sound, it was a direct results of the Asian Soccer Confederation guidelines dictating that each one gamers seemingly for use are to be designated a shirt quantity that they have to hold for the whole lot of the qualifying marketing campaign. We will solely surmise that Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek wasn’t overly assured that Oar could be known as on at any level.

Alvarez is one other of a choose group of gamers to have performed with not one, not two, however three digits on his again. The centre-back emerged sporting the No. 282 shirt when he made his debut for Membership America in 2016 on the age of 19. That is because of the rule in Liga MX that each one gamers, even these within the reserve and youth groups, should be assigned a quantity. Therefore, Alvarez made his fast rise whereas retaining his three-digit quantity. The Mexico worldwide, who signed for Ajax in 2019, now wears the No. 4 for membership and nation.





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