Squad number (association football)


Squad numbers are used in association football to identify and distinguish players that are on the field. number (sports), Numbers were originally used to also indicate position, with starting players being assigned numbers 1–11, although these numbers often bear little or no significance in the modern game other than the players' favourite numbers and the numbers available. However, numbers 1–11 are often still worn by players of the previously associated position. As national leagues adopted squad numbers and game tactics evolved over the decades, numbering systems evolved separately in each football scene, and so different countries have different conventions. Still, there are some numbers that are universally agreed upon being used for a particular position, because they are quintessentially associated with that role. For instance, "1" is frequently used by the starting Goalkeeper (association football), goalkeeper, as the goalkeeper is the first player in a line-up. It is also the only position on the field that is required to be occupied. "10" is one of the most emblematic squad numbers in football, due to the sheer number of football legends that used the number 10 shirt; playmakers, Forward (association football)#Second striker, second strikers and Midfielder#Attacking midfielder, attacking midfielders usually wear this number. "7" is often associated with effective and profitable Midfielder#Winger, wingers or second strikers. "9" is usually worn by Forward (association football)#Centre-forward, centre forwards or Forward (association football)#Striker, strikers, who hold the most advanced offensive positions on the pitch, and are often the highest scorers in the team.


First use of numbers

The first record of numbered jerseys in football date back to 1911, with Australian teams Sydney Leichardt and HMS Powerful being the first to use squad numbers on their backs. One year later, numbering in football would be ruled as mandatory in New South Wales. The next recorded use was on 23 March 1914, when the English Wanderers, a team of amateur players from English Football League, Football League clubs, played Corinthian F.C., Corinthians at Stamford Bridge (stadium), Stamford Bridge, London. This was Corinthians first match after their Amateur Football Alliance#History, FA ban for joining the Amateur Football Association was rescinded. Wanderers won 4–2. In South America, Argentina was the first country with numbered shirts. It was during the Scottish team Third Lanark A.C., Third Lanark British football clubs tours to South America#Third Lanark, tour to South America of 1923, they played a friendly match v a local combined team ("Zona Norte") on 10 June. Both squads were numbered from 1–11.El número 10, la camiseta que se convirtió en un emblema
by Leonardo Peluso on ''Página/12'', 3 February 2018
30 March 1924, saw the first football match in the soccer in the United States, United States with squad numbers, when the Fall River Marksmen played St. Louis Vesper Buick during the 1923–24 National Challenge Cup, although only the local team wore numbered shirts.Historia y curiosidades de la numeración fija en el fútbol
by Walter Raiño on ''Clarín'', 13 September 2017
The next recorded use in association football in Europe was on 25 August 1928 when Sheffield Wednesday F.C., The Wednesday played Arsenal F.C., Arsenal and Chelsea F.C., Chelsea hosted Swansea City A.F.C., Swansea Town at Stamford Bridge. Numbers were assigned by field location: #Goalkeeper (association football), Goalkeeper #Fullback (association football), Right full back (right side centre back) #Fullback (association football), Left full back (left side centre back) #Wing half, Right half back (right side defensive midfield) #Centre half back (centre defensive midfield) #Wing half, Left half back (left side defensive midfield) #Outside forward, Outside right (right winger) #Inside forward, Inside right (attacking midfield) #Centre forward #Inside forward, Inside left (attacking midfield) #Outside forward, Outside left (left winger) In the first game at Stamford Bridge, only the outfield players wore numbers (2–11). ''The Daily Express'' (p. 13, 27 August 1928) reported, "The 35,000 spectators were able to give credit for each bit of good work to the correct individual, because the team were numbered, and the large figures in black on white squares enabled each man to be identified without trouble." ''The Daily Mirror'' ("Numbered Jerseys A Success", p. 29, 27 August 1928) also covered the match: "I fancy the scheme has come to stay. All that was required was a lead and London has supplied it." When Chelsea toured Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil at the end of the season in the summer of 1929, they also wore numbered shirts, earning the nickname "''Los Numerados''" ("the numbered") from locals. Early evolutions of formations involved moving specific positions; for example, moving the centre half back to become a defender rather than a half back. Their numbers went with them, hence central defenders wearing number 5, and remnants of the system remain. For example, in friendly and championship qualifying matches England national football team, England, when playing the 4–4–2 formation, generally number their players (using the standard right to left system of listing football teams) four defenders – 2, 5, 6, 3; four midfielders – 7, 4, 8, 11; two forwards – 10, 9. This system of numbering can also be adapted to a midfield diamond with the holding midfielder wearing 4 and the attacking central midfielder wearing 8. Similarly the Swedish national team number their players: four defenders – 2, 3, 4, 5; four midfielders – 7, 6, 8, 9; two forwards – 10, 11. The 1950 FIFA World Cup was the first FIFA competition to see squad numbers for each players, but persistent numbers would not be issued until the 1954 FIFA World Cup, 1954 World Cup, where each man in a country's 22-man squad wore a specific number from 1 to 22 for the duration of the tournament.


In 1993, The Football Association (The FA) switched to persistent squad numbers, abandoning the mandatory use of 1–11 for the starting line-up. The first league event to feature this was the 1993 Football League Cup Final between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday, and it became standard in the Premier League, FA Premier League the following season, along with names printed above the numbers. Charlton Athletic F.C., Charlton Athletic were among the ten Football League clubs who chose to adopt squad numbers for the 1993–94 season (with squad numbers assigned to players in alphabetical order according to their surname), before reverting to 1–11 shirt numbering a year later. Squad numbers became optional in the three divisions of The Football League at the same time, but only 10 out of 70 clubs used them. One of those clubs, Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., Brighton & Hove Albion, issued 25 players with squad numbers but reverted to traditional 1–11 numbering halfway through the season. In the Premier League, Arsenal temporarily reverted to the old system halfway through that same season, but reverted to the new numbering system for the following campaign. Most European top leagues adopted the system during the 1990s. The Football League made squad numbers compulsory for the 1999–2000 in English football, 1999–2000 season, and the Football Conference followed suit for the 2002–03 in English football, 2002–03 season. The traditional 1–11 numbers have been worn on occasions by English clubs since their respective leagues introduced squad numbers. Premier League clubs often used the traditional squad numbering system when competing in domestic or European cups, often when their opponents still made use of the traditional squad numbering system. This included Manchester United F.C., Manchester United's Premier League clash with Manchester City F.C., Manchester City at Old Trafford on 10 February 2008, when 1950s style kits were worn as part of the Munich air disaster's 50th anniversary commemorations. Players may now wear any number (as long as it is unique within their squad) between 1 and 99. In continental Western Europe this can generally be seen: 1– Goalkeeper 2– Right Back 3– Left Back 4– Centre Back 5– Centre Back (or Sweeper, if used) 6– Central Defensive/Holding Midfielder 7– Right Attacking Midfielders/Wingers 8– Central/Box-to-Box Midfielder 9– Striker 10– Attacking Midfielder/Playmaker 11– Left Attacking Midfielders/Wingers This changes from formation to formation, however the defensive number placement generally remain the same. The use of Inverted Wingers now sees traditional right wingers, the number 7's, like Cristiano Ronaldo, on the left, and traditional left wingers, the number 11's, like Gareth Bale, on the right.

Numbering by country


In Brazil, the 4–2–4 formation was developed independently from Europe, thus leading to a different numbering – here shown in the 4–3–3 formation to stress that in Brazil, number ten is midfield: *1 Goleiro (Goalkeeper) *2 Lateral Direito (right wingback) *3 Beque Central (centre back) *4 Quarto Zagueiro (the "fourth defender", almost the same as a centre back) *6 Lateral Esquerdo (left wingback) *5 Volante ("Rudder" or "mobile", the defensive midfielder) *8 Meia Direita (right midfielder) *10 Meia Esquerda (left midfielder, generally more offensive than the right one) *7 Ponta Direita (right winger) *9 Centro-Avante (centre forward) *11 Ponta Esquerda (left winger) When in 4–2–4, number 10 passes to the Ponta de Lança (striker), and 4–4–2 formations get this configuration: four defenders – 2 (right wingback), 4, 3, 6 (left wingback); four midfielders – 5 (defensive), 8 ("second midfielder"), similar to a central midfielder), 7, 10 (attacking); two strikers – 9, 11


In England, in a now traditional 4–4–2 formation, the standard numbering is usually: 2 (right fullback), 5, 6, 3 (left fullback); 4 (defensive midfielder), 7 (right midfielder), 8 (central/attacking midfielder), 11 (left midfielder); 10 (second/support striker), 9 (striker). This came about based on the traditional 2–3–5 system. Where the 2 fullbacks retained the numbers 2, 3. Then of the halves, 4 was kept as the central defensive midfielder, while 5 and 6 were moved backward to be in the central of defence. 7 and 11 stayed as the wide attacking players, whilst 8 dropped back a little from inside forward to a (sometimes attacking) midfield role, and 10 stayed as a second striker in support of a number 9. The 4 is generally the holding midfielder, as through the formation evolution it was often used for the sweeper or libero position. This position defended behind the central defenders, but attacked in front – feeding the midfield. It is generally not used today, and developed into the holding midfielder role. When Substitute (association football), substitutions were introduced to the game in 1965, the substitute typically took the number 12; when a second substitute was allowed, they wore 14. Players were not compelled to wear the number 13 (number), 13 if they were Triskaidekaphobia, superstitious.


In Eastern Europe, the defence numbering is slightly different. The Hungary national football team, Hungarian national team under Gusztáv Sebes switched from a 2–3–5 formation to 3–2–5. So the defence numbers were 2 to 4 from right to left thus making the right back (2), centre back (3) and the left back (4). Since the concept of a flat back four the number (5) has become the other centre back.


Argentina developed its numeration system independently from the rest of the world. This was because until the 1960s, Argentine football developed more or less isolated from the evolution brought by English, Italian and Hungarian coaches, owing to technological limitations at the time in communications and travelling with Europe, lack of information as to keeping up with news, lack of awareness and/or interest in the latest innovations, and strong nationalism promoted by the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino (for example, back then Argentines playing in Europe were banned from playing in the Argentine national team). The first formation used in Argentine football was the 2–3–5 and, until the '60s, it was the sole formation employed by Argentine clubs and the Argentina national football team, with only very few exceptions like Club Atlético River Plate, River Plate's ''La Máquina'' from the '40s that used 3–2–2–3. It was not until the mid 1960s in the national team, with Argentina winning the Taça das Nações (1964) using 3–2–5, and the late '60s, for clubs, with Club Estudiantes de La Plata, Estudiantes winning the treble of the Copa Libertadores (1968, 1969, 1970) using 4–4–2, that Argentine football finally adopted modern formations on major scale, and caught up with its counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic. While the original 2–3–5 formation used the same numbering system dictated by the English clubs in 1928, subsequent changes were developed independently. The basic formation to understand the Argentine numeration system is the 4–3–3 formation, like the one used by the coach César Menotti that made Argentina win the 1978 FIFA World Cup, 1978 World Cup, the squad numbers employed are: * 1 Goalkeeper * 2 Right Back * 6 First Centre Back / Sweeper * 4 Second Centre Back / Stopper * 3 Left Back * 8 Right Midfielder * 5 Central Defensive Midfielder * 10 Striker * 7 Right Winger * 9 Centreforward * 11 Left Winger However, in a 4–3–1–2 like those used by the multichampion teams of Club Atlético Independiente, Independiente in the 1980s and Boca Juniors in the 2000s, the use of an ''enganche'' (playmaker) and the re-accommodation of other roles changes the numbers: * 1 Goalkeeper * 4 Right Back * 2 First Centre Back * 6 Second Centre Back * 3 Left Back * 8 Right Midfielder * 5 Central Defensive Midfielder * 11 Left Midfielder * 10 Playmaker * 7 Second Striker * 9 Centreforward When using a 4–4–2 like that of the multichampion Estudiantes de La Plata of the 1960s or the Argentine national team that became runners-up in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2014 World Cup, the numbers are the same as in 4–3–3, except that the box-to-box midfielder may have any number. In Argentina, the role is called ''doble 5'' so there is not any convention as to which number it has. Also, due to the use of just two strikers, the number 11 May not be used at all. So, the numbers are: * 1 Goalkeeper * 4 Right Back * 2 First Centre Back / Sweeper * 6 Second Centre Back / Stopper * 3 Left Back * 8 Right Midfielder * 5 Central Defensive Midfielder * # Box-to-box Midfielder (may have any number) * 10 Left Midfielder * 7 Second Striker * 9 Centreforward Then there is the 4–2–3–1 formation, ubiquitous at world-level in the 2010s, and employed in Argentina by the national team nicknamed ''Los 4 Fantásticos'' that finished first in CONMEBOL 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONMEBOL), 2014 World Cup qualifying, attacking with the forwards Sergio Agüero, Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María and Gonzalo Higuaín. The numbers used are: * 1 Goalkeeper * 4 Right Back * 2 First Centre Back * 6 Second Centre Back * 3 Left Back * 8 Midfielder * 5 Central Defensive Midfielder * 7 Right Winger * 10 Playmaker * 11 Left Winger * 9 Centreforward Meanwhile, the 3–5–2 formation, famously used by the coach Carlos Bilardo to make Argentina win the 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1986 World Cup and become runners-up in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, 1990 World Cup, and one of the last major changes in the history of football formations, changes drastically the use of numbers, due to major movements in roles and positions: * 1 Goalkeeper * 2 Sweeper * 4 Right Stopper * 6 Left Stopper * 8 Right Wing-Back * 7 Right Central Midfielder * 5 Central Defensive Midfielder * 11 Left Central Midfielder * 3 Left Wing-Back * 10 Playmaker / Second Striker * 9 Centreforward And, last, the 3–3–3–1, used by the coach Marcelo Bielsa to help Argentina finish first in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONMEBOL), CONMEBOL's 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, become runners-up in the 2004 Copa América and win the gold medal in the Football at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's tournament, 2004 Olympics. It was also employed by the Argentina national under-20 football team, Argentine under-20 team that won the 2015 South American Youth Football Championship. 3–3–3–1 uses mixtures from many of the aforementioned formations: * 1 Goalkeeper * 2 Sweeper * 4 Right Stopper * 6 Left Stopper * 8 Right Wing-Back * 5 Central Defensive Midfielder * 3 Left Wing-Back * 7 Right Winger * 10 Playmaker * 11 Left Winger * 9 Centreforward

United Kingdom

Players are not generally allowed to change their number during a season, although a player may change number if he changes clubs mid-season. Players may change squad numbers between seasons. Occasionally, when a player has two loan spells at the same club in a single season (or returns as a permanent signing after an earlier loan spell), an alternative squad number is needed if the original number assigned during the player's first loan spell has been reassigned by the time the player returns. A move from a high number to a low one may be an indication that the player is likely to be a regular starter for the coming season. An example of this is Celtic F.C., Celtic's Scott McDonald, who, after the departure of former number 7 Maciej Żurawski, was given the number, a move down from 27. Another example is Steven Gerrard, who wore number 28 (which was his academy number) during his debut 1998–99 Liverpool F.C. season#Squad, 1998–99 season, then switched to number 17 in 2000–01 Liverpool F.C. season#First-team squad, 2000–01. In 2004–05 Liverpool F.C. season#First-team squad, 2004–05, after Emile Heskey left Liverpool, Gerrard then changed his number again to 8. More recently, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane changed his number 37 shirt from the 2013–14 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. season#First-team squad, 2013–14 season to 18 for the 2014–15 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. season, 2014–15 season when he became one of the club's first-choice strikers after Jermain Defoe was sold and the number 18 was vacated. Kane then switched to the number 10 for the 2015–16 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. season, 2015–16 season after Emmanuel Adebayor left the club and the number was vacated. Manchester City's Sergio Agüero also did a similar switch in jersey number, from number 16 in 2014–15 Manchester City F.C. season, 2014–15 to number 10 in 2015–16 Manchester City F.C. season, 2015–16, a number he took over from Edin Džeko following his loan departure to A.S. Roma, Roma. Some players keep the number they start their career at a club with, such as Chelsea defender John Terry, who wore the number 26 during his spell at the club. On occasion, players have moved numbers to accommodate a new player; for example, Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun handed new signing Juan Mata the number 10 shirt, and changed to the number 30, which doubles his "lucky" number 15. Upon signing for Everton F.C., Everton in 2007, Yakubu (footballer), Yakubu refused the prestigious number 9 shirt and asked to be assigned number 22, setting this number as a goal-scoring target for his first season, a feat he ultimately fell one goal short of achieving. In a traditional 4–4–2 system in the UK, the squad numbers 1–11 would usually have been occupied in this manner: * 1 Goalkeeper * 2 Right back * 3 Left back * 4 Central midfielder (more defensive) * 5 Centre back * 6 Centre back * 7 Right winger * 8 Central midfielder (more attacking/Box-to-Box) * 9 Striker (usually a target player) * 10 Centre forward (usually a fast poacher) * 11 Left winger However, in a more modern 4–2–3–1 system, they will be arranged like this: * 1 Goalkeeper * 2 Right back * 3 Left back * 4 Central midfielder (more defensive) * 5 Centre back * 6 Centre back * 7 Right winger * 8 Central midfielder (box-to-box) * 9 Striker * 10 Central midfielder (more attacking) * 11 Left winger Higher-level clubs have a tendency to field reserve and fringe players in the EFL Cup, English Football League Cup so high squad numbers are not uncommon. Nico Yennaris wore 64 for Arsenal F.C., Arsenal in the competition on 26 September 2012 in a match against Coventry City F.C., Coventry City and on 24 September 2014, again in the League Cup, Manchester City forward José Ángel Pozo wore the number 78 shirt in a match against Sheffield Wednesday F.C., Sheffield Wednesday. In a quarter-final tie on 17 December 2019, Liverpool F.C., Liverpool player Thomas Hill (footballer, born 2002), Tom Hill became the first player in English football history to wear the number 99 shirt in a competitive match. In The Football League, the number 55 has been worn by Ade Akinbiyi for Crystal Palace F.C., Crystal Palace, and Dominik Werling for Barnsley F.C., Barnsley. When Sunderland signed Cameroonian striker Patrick Mboma on loan in 2002, he wanted the number 70 to symbolize his birth year of 1970. The Premier League refused, however, and he wore the number 7 instead.


In France, players must be registered between numbers 1–30, with 1 and 16 reserved for goalkeepers and 33 left empty for extra signings. In case a fourth goalkeeper has to be registered, he wears number 40.


In 1995, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) also switched to persistent squad numbers for Serie A and Serie B (second division), abandoning the mandatory use of 1–11 for the starting lineup. After some years during which players had to wear a number between 1–24, now they can wear any number between 1–99 without restrictions. Notably, Chievo Verona had the goalkeeper Cristiano Lupatelli wearing number 10 from 2001 to 2003 and midfielder Jonathan de Guzman wearing number 1 in 2016.


In the Spanish La Liga, players in the A-squad (maximum 25 players, including a maximum of three Goalkeeper (association football), goalkeepers) must wear a number between 1–25. Goalkeepers must wear either 1, 13 or 25. When players from the reserve team are selected to play for the first team, they are given squad numbers between 26 and 50.

United States and Canada

North American professional association football club follows a model similar to that of European clubs, with the exception that many American and Canadian clubs do not have "reserve squads", and thus do not assign higher numbers to those players. Most American and Canadian clubs have players numbered from 1 to 30, with higher numbers being reserved for second and third goalkeepers. In the United Soccer Leagues First Division and Major League Soccer (MLS), there were only 20 outfield players wearing squad numbers higher than 30 on the first team in the 2009 season, suggesting that the traditional model has been followed. In 2007, MLS club LA Galaxy retired the former playing number of Cobi Jones, number 13, becoming the first MLS team to do so. In 2011, MLS club Real Salt Lake retired the former playing number of coach Jason Kreis, number 9.

Goalkeeper numbering

The first-choice goalkeeper is usually assigned the number 1 shirt as he or she is the first player in a line-up. The second-choice goalkeeper wears, on many occasions, shirt number 12 which is the first shirt of the second line up, or number 13. In the past, when it was permitted to assign five substitute players in a match, the goalkeeper would also often wear the number 16, the last shirt number in the squad. Later on, when association football laws changed and it was permitted to assign seven substitute players, second-choice goalkeepers often wore the number 18. In the A-League, second-choice goalkeepers mostly wear number 20, based on that competition having a 20-man regulated "first team" squad size. In international tournaments (such as FIFA World Cup or continental cups) each team must list a squad of 23 players, wearing shirts numbered 1 through 23. Thus, in this case, third-choice goalkeepers often wear the number 23. Prior to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, only 22 players were permitted in international squads; therefore, the third goalkeeper was often awarded the number 22 jersey in previous tournaments. The move to a fixed number being assigned to each player in a squad was initiated for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, 1954 World Cup where each man in a country's 22-man squad wore a specific number for the duration of the tournament. As a result, the numbers 12 to 22 were assigned to different squad players, with no resemblance to their on-field positions. This meant that a team could start a match not necessarily fielding players wearing numbers one to eleven. Although the numbers one to eleven tended to be given to those players deemed to be the "first choice line-up", this was not always the case for a variety of reasons – a famous example was Johan Cruyff, who insisted on wearing the number 14 shirt for the Netherlands. In the 1958 FIFA World Cup, 1958 World Cup, the Brazilian Football Confederation forgot to send the player numbers list to the event organization. However, the Uruguayan official Lorenzo Villizzio assigned random numbers to the players. The Goalkeeper (association football), goalkeeper Gylmar dos Santos Neves, Gilmar received the number 3, and Garrincha and Zagallo wore opposite winger numbers, 11 and 7, while Pelé was randomly given the number 10, for which he would become famous. Argentina national football team, Argentina defied convention by numbering their squads for the 1978 FIFA World Cup, 1978, 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1986 World Cups alphabetically, resulting in outfield players (not goalkeepers) wearing the number 1 shirt (although Diego Maradona was given an out-of-sequence number 10 in both 1982 and 1986 while Mario Kempes in 1982 and Jorge Valdano in 1986 were allowed to use number 11). In 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1974 Argentina also used the alphabetical system, but only to line players and goalkeepers Daniel Carnevali and Ubaldo Fillol wore traditional goalkeeping numbers 1 and 12 respectively. England national football team, England used a similar alphabetical scheme for the 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982 World Cup, but retained the traditional numbers for the goalkeepers (1, 13 and 22) and the team captain (7), Kevin Keegan. In the 1990 FIFA World Cup, 1990 World Cup, 1990 FIFA World Cup squads#Scotland, Scotland assigned squad numbers according to the number of international matches each player had played at the time (with the exception of goalkeeper Jim Leighton, who was assigned an out-of-sequence number 1): Alex McLeish, who was the most capped player, wore number 2, whereas Robert Fleck and Bryan Gunn, who only had one cap each, wore numbers 21 and 22, respectively. In a practice that ended after the 1998 FIFA World Cup, 1998 World Cup, Italy national football team, Italy gave low squad numbers to defenders, medium to midfielders, and high ones to forwards, while numbers 1, 12 and 22 were assigned to goalkeepers. In July 2007, a FIFA document issuing regulations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2010 World Cup finally stated that the number 1 jersey must be issued to a goalkeeper. Before the 2002 FIFA World Cup, 2002 World Cup, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) attempted to retire the number 10 in honour of Maradona by submitting a squad list of 23 players for the tournament, listed 1 through 24, with the number 10 omitted. FIFA rejected Argentina's plan, with the governing body's president Sepp Blatter suggesting the number 10 shirt be instead given to the team's third-choice goalkeeper, Roberto Bonano. The AFA ultimately submitted a revised list with Ariel Ortega, originally listed as number 23, as the number 10.

Unusual or notable numbers

*Goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed unusually wore the number 8 jersey for Netherlands national football team, Netherlands at the 1974 and 1978 World Cups. He was assigned the number in 1974 when the Netherlands took an alphabetical approach to its squad numbering (striker Ruud Geels was assigned the number 1). In 1978, although this alphabetical approach was not used, many of the squad retained their 1974 numbers (goalkeeper Piet Schrijvers wore number 1). *From 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1974 to 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1986, the Argentina national football team, Argentine national team's numbers for FIFA World Cup, World Cups were mostly assigned alphabetically, leading to unusual numbers being assigned for goalkeepers Ubaldo Fillol (number 5 in 1978 FIFA World Cup, 1978 and 7 in 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982), Héctor Baley (number 3 in 1978 FIFA World Cup, 1978 and 2 in 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982) and Enrique Vidallé (number 3 in 1979), with number 1 being assigned to offensive players: Norberto Alonso in 1978 FIFA World Cup, 1978, Osvaldo Ardiles in 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982 and Sergio Omar Almirón, Sergio Almirón in 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1986. During the Copa America held in Bolivia in 1997, Argentina assigned jersey numbers in an alphabetical order due to which goalkeeper Ignacio Carlos Gonzalez wore the number 10 jersey. *Hicham Zerouali was allowed to wear the number 0 for Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen F.C., Aberdeen after the fans nicknamed him "Zero". *Outfield players have occasionally worn the number 1 for their clubs, including Pantelis Kafes for Olympiacos F.C., Olympiacos and AEK Athens F.C., AEK Athens, Charlton Athletic F.C., Charlton Athletic's Stuart Balmer in the 1990s, Sliema Wanderers F.C., Sliema Wanderers' David Carabkott in 2005–06, FK Partizan, Partizan's Simon Vukčević in 2004–05, Beşiktaş J.K., Beşiktaş's Daniel Pancu in 2005–06, Clube Atlético Mineiro, Atlético Mineiro's Diego de Souza Andrade, Diego Souza in 2010 and Barnet F.C., Barnet player-manager Edgar Davids in 2013–14. *In 2001, Colombian Freddy Rincón wore number 35 for Santos FC, Santos. *Also in 2001, Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Vargas (footballer), Sergio Vargas wore number 188 for Club Universidad de Chile, Universidad de Chile, as part of a commercial agreement with telecommunications brand Movistar, Telefónica CTC Chile. However, the number was not allowed in international competitions, in which Vargas was forced to wear number 1. *Italian goalkeeper Cristiano Lupatelli wore number 10 while playing for A.C. ChievoVerona, Chievo Verona, between 2001 and 2003. Lupatelli himself admitted that he did it just for fun and due to a bet he made with his friends. *In 2004, FC Porto, Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía became the first player to wear 99 in the final of a major European competition, the UEFA Champions League. *During the 1990s and early 2000s, number 58 was somewhat common among players based in or native to western Mexico, especially the city of Guadalajara. It started as a publicity stunt by radio station XEAV-AM (580 AM), branded as Canal 58. Some notable players to use number 58 were Jared Borgetti, Juan Pablo Rodríguez, Carlos Turrubiates, Eric Wynalda, Hugo Norberto Castillo, Darío Franco, Carlos María Morales, Osmar Donizete, and Benjamín Galindo. *During the Summer 2001 tournament, Argentinian midfielder Antonio Mohamed wore number 38 for the Irapuato F.C. instead of his traditional number 11 (3+8=11). Mohamed also used number 26 while playing for the Club America during the Copa Libertadores 1998 tournament. *Mexican Midfielder and World Cup hero Marcelino Bernal requested jersey number 88 while playing for Pumas de la UNAM during the Summer 2001 league tournament, the last club of his career. *Mexican superstar goalkeeper Jorge Campos, who also played as a striker used numbers 1, 9, 10, 19 and 23 throughout his career. In the early years, he was a striker for Pumas de la UNAM wearing number 10, and occasionally would play goalie with that number. Later in his career he wore number 1, both for Pumas and the Mexican Senior Squad. For Atlante FC in the mid-90's he was assigned number 19. With Cruz Azul during the 1997 Winter tournament he had number 9. While playing in the MLS for the Chicago Fire FC, Chicago Fire also had number 1. While playing for Mexico's Senior Squad he wore number 1 during the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, as the starting goalie. As a backup for the 2002 World Cup he was assigned 23, the highest possible number for the team. For Team Mexico he also wore numbers 9 and 19. *Mexican defender Jorge Rodríguez Esquivel was given number 9 for the Mexico squad playing in the 1995 King Fahd Cup (now called the FIFA Confederations Cup). Exclusively a defender during his entire career, Rodriguez number with México was normally 20. *Mexican superstar Cuauhtémoc Blanco wore number 9 during a brief stint with Santos Laguna, instead of his regular number 10, during the Apertura 2008 tournament. In a game, when the substitution board showed that number 10 was about to be replaced, Blanco nearly left the field, forgetting that he didn't have his traditional number 10. *Adolfo Bautista, when playing for C.D. Guadalajara, Guadalajara, wore number 100 under special dispensation from the Mexican Football Federation (he wore 1 in CONCACAF competitions and 7 during the 2005 Copa Libertadores campaign). Later, when he was traded to Chiapas F.C., Chiapas, he received jersey number 1. *Argentine goalkeeper Federico Vilar has used number 3 for most of his career in the Liga MX. *Chilean striker Marco Olea wore number 111 for Club Universidad de Chile, Universidad de Chile during the 2005 season. Originally wearing number 11, he decided to give his number to Marcelo Salas upon his arrival to the club. *Parma F.C., Parma goalkeeper Luca Bucci wore the numbers 7 (2005–06) and 5 (2006–07 and 2007–08). *From 2007 to his retirement in 2015, goalkeeper Rogério Ceni of São Paulo FC, São Paulo wore the double-digit "01" shirt for his club. *Iván Zamorano wore number "1+8", or number 18 with a plus symbol between the two digits, for Inter Milan, Internazionale from 1997 to 2000, after his number 9 was given to Ronaldo (Brazilian footballer), Ronaldo. *Juan Pablo Sorín was allowed to use the number "1+2" for Villarreal CF, Villarreal because the number 3 was taken. This was only used rarely. *Derek Riordan was given squad number 01 by Hibernian F.C., Hibernian in the 2008–09 season. Number 10 had already been taken by Colin Nish, and none of the club's goalkeepers had been allocated number 1.Hibernian return delights Riordan
BBC Sport, 2 September 2008.
*In 2008, A.C. Milan, Milan's three new signings each chose a number indicating the year of his birth: 76 (Andriy Shevchenko, born 1976), 80 (Ronaldinho, born 1980) and 84 (Mathieu Flamini, born 1984). * The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) requires players to keep the same squad numbers throughout the preliminary rounds for the AFC Asian Cup, resulting in players with squad numbers of 100 or higher, including 121 worn by Thomas Oar of Australia national association football team, Australia in a 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification match against Indonesia national football team, Indonesia. * During the 2012–13 Liga MX season, Víctor Perales and Luis Ángel Morales of C.D. Guadalajara, Guadalajara wore numbers 143 and 163, respectively. Other teams, including Atlas F.C., Atlas, issue high numbers as well for their reserve teams (up to No. 415 for Atlas F.C. Reserves and Academy, Atlas). * At the beginning of the 2013–14 season, Barnet F.C., Barnet midfielder and player-manager Edgar Davids allocated himself the number 1 shirt, announcing he intended to "set a trend". * Gary Hooper wore shirt number 88 at Celtic F.C., Celtic as his number 10 was already taken and 88 is the year (1988) he was born in. "88" (1888) is also the year Celtic F.C., Celtic was founded. The season after Hooper signed, new signing Victor Wanyama chose the number 67 to honour the Lisbon Lions, Celtic's European Cup winning team of 1967. *Goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith wore the number 2 shirt for Sheffield Wednesday F.C., Sheffield Wednesday during the 2016–17 season, while midfielder David Jones (footballer, born 1984), David Jones, forward Steven Fletcher (footballer), Steven Fletcher midfielder Adam Reach wore numbers 3, 6 and 9 respectively. *Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa wore the number 8 shirt for Standard Liège in his first season at the club. His last name (Ochoa) is similar to the Spanish word for "8" (ocho). He also wore the number 6 in his second stint for Club América, Club America in his first season at the club, as his traditional number 13 was taken by Leonel López. He chose the number 6 because that was the date his niece was born, and it was the day he signed for Club America. *Goalkeeper Rui Patrício wore the number 11 shirt for Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C., Wolverhampton Wanderers during the 2018–19 and 2019–20 Premier League seasons, leaving the number 1 shirt vacant as a tribute to former Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who retired after treatment for acute leukemia. *Hillal Soudani, of Nottingham Forest, has worn the number 2 shirt (most associated with the right back position) for a large portion of his career, despite being a forward or striker. *Keisuke Honda, despite being an attacking midfielder, has worn the number 4 shirt (most associated with defense position) most of his career. *When Róger Guedes signed for Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, he chose the number 123. He chose this because the numbers go 1, 2, 3..., because he has been wearing 23 for years and now that he has a son he wants to begin a new chapter of his life, which includes a new number, but still wants to retain some connection, and also because Fagner Conserva Lemos was already wearing the 23. On substitution boards, it will show 12 or 23 and someone will tell Guedes that he is going on/off. *Tacoma Defiance players wear very high numbers. The lowest number in the squad is 18, worn by loanee goalkeeper Spencer Richey, with the lowest permanent player number being goalkeeper Christian Herrera's number 31. The majority of the squad has numbers over 50. This is due to them serving as a reserve team of MLS side Seattle Sounders. *When Andrés Iniesta left FC Barcelona in 2018, a special "#Infinit8Iniesta" shirt was released. Although Iniesta never wore it in a match, it was sold to fans. The number on the back, instead of 8, was an infinity symbol (∞). *Gianluigi Donnarumma wore number 99 (the year of his birth) at AC Milan before switching to 50 at Paris Saint-Germain due to the Ligue 1 numbering regulations. *Lionel Messi wears number 30, the Ligue 1 third goalkeeper number, for Paris Saint-Germain as his traditional number 10 is taken by Neymar. He chose 30 because it is a combination of the numbers of Ronaldinho (10) and Deco (20), his two mentors when he first joined FC Barcelona. *Radamel Falcao wears number 3 at Rayo Vallecano in honor of his late father Radamel García who died recently, as that was his iconic number. He took the number from Fran García (footballer, born 1999), Fran García, who agreed to move to number 33.

Commemorative numbers

*Jesús Arellano, when playing for Club de Futbol Monterrey, wore the number 400 in 1996 to celebrate the city's 400th anniversary. *Brazilian Esporte Clube Goiás, Goiás goalkeeper Harlei de Menezes Silva, Harlei wore number 400 in a match in 2006, to celebrate his 400th match for the team. *Brazilian Santos FC, Santos goalkeeper Fábio Costa wore number 300 in a match in 2008 to celebrate his 300th match for the team. *Andreas Herzog wore the number 100 on his 100th match for the Austria national football team, Austrian national team, a friendly against Norway national football team, Norway, as he was the first Austrian player to have 100 caps. *James Beattie (footballer), James Beattie of Everton F.C., Everton and Steven Gerrard of Liverpool F.C., Liverpool both wore the double-digit 08 instead of the single-digit 8 in the Merseyside derby on 25 March 2006, to commemorate the Liverpool, City of Liverpool becoming the European Capital of Culture for 2008. *Tugay Kerimoğlu wore the number 94 on his 94th and final cap for Turkey national football team, Turkey against Brazil national football team, Brazil in 2007. *Rubén Sosa wore number 100 for the 100th Anniversary of Club Nacional de Football, Nacional on 14 May 1999. *In 1999, Pablo Bengoechea wore number 108 for the 108th Anniversary of Club Atletico Peñarol, Peñarol. *During his record-breaking 618th game for São Paulo FC, São Paulo, Rogério Ceni wore number 618, the highest number ever worn in professional football until 2015. *During his last match, number 100, for the Denmark national football team, Danish national team, Martin Jørgensen wore shirt number 100. *During his record-breaking 100th cap for South Africa national football team, South Africa, Aaron Mokoena wore shirt number 100. *In 2011, CR Vasco da Gama, Vasco da Gama's heroes Felipe Jorge Loureiro, Felipe and Juninho Pernambucano wore the number 300—in different matches—to celebrate their 300th matches for the club. *Vasco captain Juninho wore the number 114 against ''Clássico dos Gigantes'' rivals Fluminense FC, Fluminense for the 114th anniversary of the club in 2012. * Goalkeeper Victor Leandro Bagy, Victor of Clube Atlético Mineiro, Atlético Mineiro wore the 2019 shirt in July 2015 celebrating his contract renewal until 2019. * Colombian playmaker Giovanni Hernández playing for Junior F.C. at the time, wore the number 800 in 2012 to commemorate his 800th appearance in professional football, against Independiente Medellín. He scored the only goal in a 1–0 win. * Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar wore the number 200 for Santos to celebrate his 200th match for the team. * Usain Bolt wore the number 9.58 alluding to his world record timing in 100m sprint in Soccer Aid 2018 captaining the World XI at Old Trafford. In 2019, Lee Mack wore number 95.80 as well as Bolt wearing his number from 2018 again. Many other odd or unusual numbers have been worn at Soccer Aid, such as Lee Mack wearing 999 and Chelcee Grimes wearing 96 or 97. *Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard wore number 50 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11, first-ever moon landing. * Many former AFC Ajax, Ajax players wear 34 as a tribute to former Ajax teammate Abdelhak Nouri who collapsed on the pitch and when taken to hospital was put into a coma and never played again. * In 2021, chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo wore number 22 in a friendly match against Bolivia national football team, Bolivia, as a tribute to former goalkeeper Mario Osbén, who died a few days before the match.

See also

* List of retired numbers in association football * Number (sports)


{{DEFAULTSORT:Squad Number (Association Football) Association football terminology Numbering in sports, Football, Association