Controversy to Tantrums. Shirt numbers aren’t as boring as you think!

Every football player has a number on their shirt. Simple. Some players prefer the famous No.10 shirt. Other numbers are retired for different reasons. Nothing interesting right?


Some numbers on kits have strange reasons and backstories. Some cause outrage and some are just pure brilliance.
Here we look at a few of the best.


Gianluigi Buffon – 88


Buffon decided he wanted to wear number 88 whilst at Parma in 2000. Most keepers take the number 1 but Buffon wanted 88. So he had 88. Done. Well, not quite. Some members of the Jewish community were outraged when they realised H is the 8th letter in the alphabet. So 88 would be HH or… Heil Hitler. Bit of a tenuous jump maybe but something Buffon would not want to be associated with. He responded by explaining that the number 88 reminded him of balls and
“In Italy we all know what it means to have balls: strength and determination. And this season I will have to have balls to get back my place in the Italy team.”
Original he wanted 00 but that was rejected. Then 01 because it was the number on the General Lee in Dukes of Hazzard. This was also rejected.


Zamorana 8+1


After he signed for Inter from Real Madrid, Zamorana was handed the number 9 shirt. Lovely. Job done, no fuss. Fast forward to 1998 and things got a bit heated. Baggio arrived at the club and demanded the number 10, which was then worn by Ronaldo. Ronaldo was moved to number 9 and Baggio to number 10. Zamorana then came up with a genius solution to being booted out of the number 9 shirt. Take shirt number 18 and put a small + between the 1 and the 8. As any primary school child will tell you, that makes 9! Genius solution!


Bixente Lizarazu 69


Yes yes, stop sniggering. Bayern Munich defender chose the number 69 but not for any ‘Carry On’ type reason. It’s simply that he weighed 69 kg, was 169cm tall and was born in 1969. Quite the coincidence!


Paulo Futre 10


When Paulo Futre arrived at West Ham in 1996 he was told he would be given the number 16 shirt instead of his preferred number 10. He took it quite badly to say the least, shouting in the manager’s face “Futre 10, not 16, Eusebio 10, Maradona 10, Pele 10; Futre 10, not f***ing 16.”

He then involved his legal team and ended up paying £100,000 to secure the number 10 shirt. He was at West Ham for 1 season making 9 appearances. Not really worth all that fuss then really.


Aboubakar Kamara 47


This one is just great. Simple, effective and great.

Fulham’s new French signing has decided on number 47 for one simple reason, he can then be ‘AK47’. Just brilliant.

There’s not much more than can be said really. It speaks for itself. He’ll be hoping his sights are set straight so he can fire off a few shots into the back of the net.


You see, not quite as boring as topic as you would think!

From luck to tantrums, footballers know what numbers they want and boy are they going to have them, even if they have to pay. Looking at you Paolo Futre…

All of our name and number prints can be found here

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