Football jersey numbers or Squad numbers are used in association football to identify and distinguish players that are on the field. Numbers helped to indicate the position of the players in the starting xi. The starting players generally wore 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 still the most popular on the football field.
To clarify, defenders are most likely to wear the lower numbers like two, three, four etc. Meanwhile, the higher numbers such as seven, nine and 10 are reserved for star forwards, attacking midfielders and playmakers. However, the first choice goalkeeper of a team usually wears the number one on its back.
The first choice goalkeeper of a team usually wears the number one jersey. Moreover, the number one jersey has never been a part of the outfield. Ex-Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas have famously worn the number, as well as the likes of Oliver Kahn, Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer.
Specifically, the right-back defenders usually don the No.2 shirt. Gary Neville wore the shirt during his long career at Old Trafford with Manchester United, along with Cafu and Ivan Cordoba.
Specifically, the left-back defenders usually don the No.3 shirt. Legendary left-backs like Maldini and Roberto Carlos wore the number 3 back in their time.
Central defenders or defensive midfielders are given the No.4. Such as ex-Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and Arsenal legend Patrick Viera made their name wearing the no.4.
Centre-backs typically wear the No.5 shirt, with some notable examples including the ex-Barcelona captain and one-club man Carles Puyol, Fabio Cannavaro and Franz Beckenbauer. Zinedine Zidane, a playmaking central midfielder, also wore the famous no.5 shirt during his time at Real Madrid.
Central Defensive/Holding Midfielder generally wears the number 6 on its back. Legendary Barcelona midfielder Xavi, wore the no. 6 during his time at the Camp Nou.
The No.7 shirt is generally reserved for wingers and second strikers. However, there are some examples of legendary central strikers who have worn the shirt. The no.7 shirt carries a classic impression because some of the legends of the game had it on their back. Sir Alex Ferguson gave the no.7 to Cristiano Ronaldo and he successfully carried on the legacy left by Cantona and Beckham at Manchester United.
The No.8 isn't as iconic or flashy as the seven, nine or 10 football jersey numbers. The jersey tends to be worn by goalscoring midfield players who balance the ability to regularly hit the back of the net while also providing assists and chances for their teammates. Great box to box midfielders with creating and scoring ability also had the number on their back. Legendary midfielders like Steven Gerrard, Andres Iniesta and Kaka during his time with Real Madrid wore the no. 8 shirt.
The No.9 is usually given to a football team's centre forward or main striker. A prolific goalscorer in any given formation, especially the likes of 4-3-3, 4-2-2 or 4-2-3-1. Legends of the game like Fernando Torres, Ronaldo Nazario wore the iconic no.9. Great goalscorers like Suarez and Lewandowski also wears the no.9 on their back.
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It is one of the most iconic numbers in football. Traditionally, the No.10 shirt is given to the team's playmaker or star attacking midfielder. It is a number that carries a lot of respect. Players like Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Pele raised the expectation bar sky-high for no.10s.
The No.11 shirt is mostly dedicated to a team's left-winger. Manchester United hero Ryan Giggs donned the no.11 at Old Trafford. Neymar also wore the shirt playing for Santos and Barcelona. Brazilian legend Romario was also a part of this elite group.