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Weirdest Numbers In Football
As a mark of respect for a player’s retirement, or as a memorial after their death, many football clubs remove the player’s shirt number the squad. So, we started thinking about which numbers have already been removed by some teams and some of the reasons behind the clubs’ decisions.
Roma fans will be wondering whether Francesco Totti’s number 10 will join the likes of Pele, and Baggio in the hall of fame. However, we found that omitting a specific number from a squad wasn’t always for the reasons of death or retirement, players are also given recognition for the number of goals they scored or appearances they made for their club, along with an ever increasing number of past players being given posthumous recognition for their service to a particular club or National squad.
More ironically, although Paolo Maldini’s number 3 shirt has been omitted from the team since his retirement he says that if one of his sons ever break into AC Milan’s first team they can be given the number!
In 1991 Napoli retired Maradona’s number 10 shirt after he left the club, Argentina also tried to do the same for the 2002 World Cup but FIFA wouldn’t allow that to happen. The iconic number 10 shirt is now worn by the player Maradona considers his successor, Lionel Messi, Ajax retired Johan Cruyff’s number 14 shirt on his 60th birthday, the club’s chairman John Jaakke has said that it will never be given to any first team player again. While at Feyenoord the squad number 12 is reserved for the supporters, (Het Legieon) rather than a player.
As you’ll see in the infographic below there’s plenty of players who have had their shirt number removed from their team’s squad, and not only because they’ve sadly passed away or retired, and of course there’s a whole host of other players who have been given the same recognition that we haven’t mentioned. That’s not to say they are any less worthy, it’s just that due to the ever increasing number of shirt number being excluded it simply isn’t possible to name them all.
Read on to find out if your all time great, past and present, has been given the accolade of having his shirt number removed from the squad and some of the reason’s behind why some players have been acknowledged in this way.
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THE M0ST FAM0US & WE1RDEST NUMBERS
When a legend of Football steps away from the beautiful game, their numbers are sometimes retired by the club they played for. There are also some numbers that are retired for completely different reasons.
TEAM: NEW YORK COSMOS
REASON: Pele’s number 10 shirt was retired on the same day he did on the 1st of October, 1977. The shirt was retired at halftime in an exhibition game against Santos, his previous club, in which Pele switched teams to play for Santos in the second half.
10 ROBERTO BAGGIO
REASON: Before Baggio joined Brescia, they had never been able to avoid relegation after begin newly promoted to Serie A, in over 40 years. During the four years under Baggio, he became their all-time leading goalscorer in Serie A and Brescia recorded their best ever Serie A run, and were never relegated. As a result, Baggio’s number 10 shirt was retired.
TEAM: INTER MILAN
4 JAVIER ZANETTI
REASON: Italian giants Inter Milan retired Zanetti’s number 4 shirt during a charity match at the San Siro after racking up more than 600 appearances.
TEAM: AC MILAN
3 PAOLO MALDINI
REASON: AC Milan retired. However, Maldini says that the number can be given to one of his sons if they ever break into the Milan first team.
TEAM: NAPOLI / ARGENTINA
10 DIEGO MARADONA
REASON: Napoli retired the number 10 shirt after Maradona left them in 1991. Argentina also tried to retire it, but FIFA disallowed the move. The shirt is now worn by Lionel Messi whom Maradona considers his “successor”.
14 JOHAN CRYUFF
REASON: In 2007, Ajax retired Cryuff’s number 14 shirt on his 60th birthday with chairman John Jaakke stating that the number 14 will never be given to any player from the first team ever again.
TEAM: WEST HAM UNITED
6 BOBBY MOORE
REASON: After Bobby Moore sadly passed away, West Ham United honoured the England great by retiring his number 6 shirt.
12 HET LEGIOEN
REASON: At Feyenoord, the squad number 12 is never given to a player, but instead is reserved for Het Legioen (the supporters) instead.
TEAM: LEED UNITED
17 MASSIMO CELLINO
REASON: Leeds former chairman Massimo Cellino retired the number 17 because it is considered an unlucky number in Italian culture.