The Strangest Squad Numbers In Football



Long gone are the good old days when the starting XI wore shirts numbered 1-11 and subs were 12-15. Now, squads are filled with literally thousands of players, many of whom want wacky squad numbers.

New Tottenham signing Clint Dempsey is a renowned attacking midfielder, who sometimes plays up front, yet he has opted for the No.2 shirt at White Hart Lane. Which got us thinking of players who have picked weird numbers in the past...

Here are some of our favourites...

0. Hicham Zerouali

The Aberdeen striker adopted the number zero on account of it sounding a bit like his last name. He tragically died in a car crash in 2004, and the number was later retired by the club. 

1. Ossie Ardiles

For the 1982 World Cup, Argentina numbered their squad in alphabetical order, so Ardiles was given the No.1 shirt, usually reserved for goalkeepers.

1+8. Ivan Zamoramo

Upon joining Italian giants Internazionale, the Chilean found his prefered No.9 jersey already shotgunned by toothy team-mate Ronaldo. So Zamorano cleverly opted for the No.18, sneaking a plus sign between the numbers. This has since been repeated by a few footballers.

9. Jorge Campos

Goalkeepers traditionally wear No.1, but then Jorge Campos was no normal stopper. He was desperate to be a striker - having been one in his youth - so used the No.9 shirt despite wearing the gloves.

1+9. Clinton Morrison

The Coventry City striker wanted No.10 but it was taken so went for 1+9, sort of like Zamorano, but without the world-class finishing pedigree.

5+5. Ade Akinbiyi

A few years earlier, this Crystal Palace striker couldn't get No.10 because the aforementioned Morrison had it, so went for 5+5. It didn't work: he flopped at Selhurst Park. A 55-year-old would probably have done a better job leading the line for the Eagles.

69. Bixente Lizarazu

The Bayern left-back claimed he wanted No.69 because it was the year of his birth and he was 1.69m tall. Hmm...

99. Ronaldo

Nobody knows quite why Ronaldo took No.99 at Milan. Rumours that it represented his weekly intake of cheeseburgers remain unconfirmed.