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10 Weird Jersey Numbers in Football and the Reason Behind Them

Which footballer comes to your mind when I say the number 69 or 80? 69 would have excited you, but you still couldn’t think of a footballer, could you? 

This is because Jersey numbers have become a very important part of football. Some iconic Jersey numbers like the No. 7 or No. 10 have become synonyms with the players that wore them. But for every traditional No. 7 or No. 10 there is a No. 69 or No. 80. 

In this article, we will look at some of the weird jersey numbers in football and the reason behind players choosing them. 

Top 10 Weirdest Jersey Numbers in Football 

80 – Ronaldinho

When the legend Ronaldinho joined AC Milan in 2008, he couldn’t rock his iconic #10 jersey. That number was already taken by another star midfielder, Clarence Seedorf.

So what did Ronaldinho do? He went with the unique number 80 instead. That number has a special meaning for him – it’s the year he was born, 1980.

By picking such an unconventional number, Ronaldinho stayed true to his one-of-a-kind style and personality. But he also showed respect to Milan by not trying to take Seedorf’s 10. The number 80 jersey let him rep his birth year while fitting into the team’s established squad.

69 – Bixente Lizarzu 

At first, Bixente Lizarazu rocking the #69 jersey seems like he was just trying to sneak in a childish joke. But the French legend insists he had legit reasons for that number choice.

Lizarazu was born in ’69, he’s 169cm tall, and at the time he weighed 69kg. So the number 69 was a perfect fit representing his birth year, height, and weight!

When Lizarazu joined Bayern Munich for his final two seasons, he kept that unorthodox number 69 on his kit.

While most players pick numbers for sentimental reasons or superstitions, Lizarazu’s 69 seemed to just be his way of having some fun on the pitch.

The World Cup winner was known for bringing lots of enjoyment and personality to the game. And that quirky number 69 jersey choice was definitely in line with his entertaining style.

99 – Ronaldo 

Ronaldo Nazario is probably one the best if not the best players ever to dawn the No 9 jersey. The Brazilian wore the 9 for top clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan and the Brazilian national team as well. 

But when Ronaldo played for AC Milan seeing the number 99 on his back was quite unusual. The reason? When Ronaldo arrived at AC Milan the number 9 was already occupied by Filipo Inziagi. Settling for the next best thing Ronaldo choose the number 99. 

Thus R9 became R99 while playing at Milan. 

1+8 – Ivan Zomarano 

Ivan Zomarano probably had the most creative jersey numbers in football. When the Chilean arrived at Inter Milan the number 9 was occupied by Ronaldo Nazario. 

Zamarano did not want to give up his original jersey number so he came up with an out-of-the-box solution. He started wearing the number 1+8. 

In Zamarono’s eyes, the math was mathing and he was still Inter’s number 9. 

41 – Declan Rice 

We are so accustomed to seeing Declan Rice wearing the No. 41 that it’s easy to forget that it’s still a bit weird for a midfielder who is probably one of the best defensive midfielders in the premier league.  

There is no great meaning behind the number, it was randomly assigned to Declan Rice when he was coming through as a youngster for the hammers. 

In an episode of The Overlap he told Gary Neville, “I think ‘Rice 41’ has a nice ring to it, I’ve grown up playing in it and I’m a bit superstitious about things like that… I don’t know if I changed to a new number if it would hamper my performances, I don’t know!” 

Well, Declan might be right why fix something that’s not broken? 

66 – Trent Alexander-Arnold. 

Trent’s number 66 has become one of the iconic numbers in the Premier League ever since he burst onto the stage in the 2017/18 season. 

Just like Declan Rice, Trent also randomly got the number 66 when he came through as youngster and has decided to stick with it. 

Liverpool’s kit man Lee Radcliffe who picked Trent’s number said  “We don’t like to give them a low number in case they sort of think they’ve made it straight away, if you know what I mean. You pick it out because it’s a free number and it’s around that sort of number you think, ‘We’ll give that out because he’s only just come down’. When you see him now lifting trophies and celebrating with No.66 on the back, it’s a weird feeling and I can’t really describe it. It’s weird to see such a high number and for someone to be happy with it!”

I don’t think Liverpool fans would mind seeing Trent wear the No. 66 as long as he’s getting those assists and lifting those titles. 

47 – Phil Foden 

Phil Foden was long hyped as the next big thing in Football ever since winning the u-17 FIFA World Cup with England. 

Foden has delivered on his hype becoming one of the key players in the Man City squad and winning multiple premier league titles including a treble in 2022/23. 

Ever since Foden his debut in 2017 he has worn the number 47, he even turned down a chance to wear David Silva’s No. 10 jersey at Man City and he has a good reason for it. 

Foden wears the No. 47 as a tribute to his grandfather Ronnie who passed away at the age of 47. Foden even said “I just have a thing with 47. I’d like to create my own legacy and keep that number.”

45 – Mario Balotelli

When we talk about out-of-the-box and unorthodox in football, it seems right for Mario Balotelli to enter the conversation.

Balotelli was once considered one of the best talents in football but he failed to live up to the hype because of his off-the-field antics. 

Balotelli wore the No. 45 for clubs like Manchester City, Liverpool, and Inter Milan among others. He chose this number as a youngster at Inter because when you add 4 and 5 it makes 9; a traditional number for a striker. 

39 – Bruno Guimares 

Bruno Guimares has quickly become one of the big names in the premier league since he arrived at Newcastle United in 2022. The Brazilian midfielder excels both as a No.6 and as a No.8 and is an undisputed started for his club. 

Bruno wears the No. 39 and the reason behind it is quite heartwarming. Explaining the reason behind it Bruno said, “The number 39 gave me everything in life. It got me here to Newcastle. It fed me, clothed me, and paid for three-hour bus rides to pursue my dream. #039 was the dispatch number of my father’s taxi in Rio de Janeiro.” 

22 – Jude Bellingham

  

Jude Bellingham has set the stage on fire even since his move to Real Madrid in the summer and he is doing justice to Zidane’s No.5 jersey. 

However, before joining Real Madrid Jude wore the No. 22 Jersey at Dortmund and Birmingham FC.  

This is because the staff at Bermingham told him not to limit himself to one role and that he had the capabilities of a 4(holding midfielder), 8 (box-to-box midfielder), and 10 (attacking midfielder) and play each position at the same level. 

Bermingham also retired Jude’s No. 22 Jersey when he left the club at the age of 17.

FAQ

Why did Ronaldinho wear 80?

Ronaldinho played for AC Milan in the number 80 jersey as a tribute to his birthyear. In 2010 Ronaldinho’s number 10 was occupied by Clarence Seedorf.

What is a number 9 in football?

The number 9 is usually worn by strikers or Center Forwards. Strikers are the players who play at the front and score the most goals for their team.

Why did Messi have number 30?

When Lionel Messi arrived in Paris, his favoured number 10 shirt was occupied by Neymar, so Messi chose to wear the number 30.

Conclusion

Jersey numbers in football are not just numbers. They tell stories about players.

Ronaldinho wore 80 as a tribute to his birth year. Ivan Zamorano wore 1+8, which is the same as 9.

Bixente Lizarazu chose 69 for fun. Trent Alexander-Arnold got the random number 66.

These odd jersey numbers show the personal side of football. They represent players’ superstitions, tributes, and humor. It makes the game even more interesting.

What do you think?

Written by TackleFromBehind

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