Ranking the Top 7 Strangest Shirt Numbers in Football History

Ranking the Top 7 Strangest Shirt Numbers in Football History

Isaac Darko
updated at February 25, 2024 at 10:15 PM
In this article:
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  • Most teams follow a set system when it comes to assigning jersey numbers for players
  • However, there are exceptions as footballers look to embrace luck or other odd factors
  • Sports Brief looks at the 8 strangest kit numbers worn by football stars the world over

The number 7 has a deep meaning to Manchester United, with this coveted shirt having been worn by some of the finest players in world football.

From Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham to Eric Cantona and George Best, this iconic jersey has been graced by legends who have left an indelible mark on the club's history.

Likewise, the number 10 holds a legendary status in the sport, having been donned by iconic figures such as Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, and Pele.

weird jerseys, strange jerseys. top 8 strangest jersey numbers in football history
Here are eight of the weirdest numbers ever worn by professional footballers. Credit: @espnfc
Source: Twitter

These football legends have immortalised a certain jersey number, making it a symbol of greatness and extraordinary talent, per BBC.

There have been many jersey numbers which have become synonymous with the pinnacle of the game - or even mysterious 'curses' for those who wear them.

Sports Brief has decided to rank the strangest squad numbers in Premier League history.

Asamoah Gyan - 3 (Ghana)

Gyan, the all-time leading scorer for Ghana with 51 goals in 105 appearances, wore the number 3 jersey for both his nation and the majority of his clubs.

It is surprising he prefers to wear the aforementioned number, considering he was a pure striker with over 184 goals from 319 appearances. 3 is typically associated with defenders, rather than the illustrious 9 or 10 which attackers frequently don.

Milan Baros - 5 (Liverpool)

Baros was the player with the number 5 on his back as Liverpool won their fifth Champions League title that year.

Strangely, he chose the number because it 'caught his attention' rather than a more sentimental reason like some of the other names on this list. Nevertheless, it was a very odd decision.

William Gallas - 10 (Arsenal)

Gallas asked for permission to wear jersey number 13 when he transferred from Chelsea to Arsenal, but the number wasn't available.

Curiously, the Frenchman chose to wear the number 10 instead of the common defender numbers like 5 or 6, which central defenders hardly use.

Gallas' decision to wear that particular shirt was made even stranger by the fact that he replaced Dennis Bergkamp, whose style of play was entirely different to his.

Ronaldinho - 80 (AC Milan)

Ronaldinho had already passed his prime and Barcelona had grown tired of his excessive partying when he signed for AC Milan in 2008.

The Brazilian legend decided to wear the number 80 jersey after learning that his preferred number 10, which was worn by Clarence Seedorf, was not available when he arrived in Milan.

The magical Ronaldinho wearing the number 80 jersey still remains a sight that has many fans questioning his choice, even though it said to denote the year of his birth.

Clint Dempsey - 2 (Tottenham)

Dempsey had to choose another number because Tottenham Hotspur had already assigned the number 8 he wears for the USA national team and the number 23 he wore at Fulham.

He then picked number 2, which isn't typically associated with an attacker, but kept it during his stint with the Seattle Sounders despite having the option to use either of his previous jersey numbers.

Trent Alexander-Arnold - 66 (Arsenal)

The brilliant Liverpool right-back has made the number 66 famous. He is now arguably the most recognisable player to have ever worn the number, which was originally assigned to him when he was a young player at Anfield.

TAA has stated that he sees no reason to change his number to 2, which has been a traditional right-back shirt for the Reds. He stated 66 honours his academy roots.

Khalid Boularouz - 9 (Chelsea)

Boulahrouz might have been taken aback when Chelsea decided to give him Hernan Crespo's old number 9 jersey upon his arrival, but it was the only number available.

It goes without saying that his jersey number quickly turned into a running joke among supporters of rival teams and continues to this day to rank among the oddest jersey numbers ever used by a football player.

While Boulahrouz began his time at Chelsea well, injuries and the emergence of John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho as a premier central defensive tandem brought an end to his tenure at Stamford Bridge. The Dutchman was then transferred on loan to Italy.

Wilfried Bony - 2 (Swansea)

The Ivorian, a pure striker, chose to wear the number 2 jersey despite the club having a number 9 jersey available, which caused outrage among Swansea fans.

Bony had a justification for his selection in a post-unveiling interview, stating he chose the number because it was his second time playing for the club.

"It holds special significance for me. I wanted to wear number 2 because this is my second stint at the club and I want to contribute more to the team," the striker was quoted as saying, via Sportskeeda.

12 best kits of 2023/24

In news related to jerseys, Sports Brief also reported on the top 12 kits of 2023/24 so far, as football clubs continue to unveil their strips for the new term.

As excitement continues to build, fans have been captivated by the introduction of new kits for the new term, including Real Madrid, Arsenal, and AC Milan.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)