How to associate player numbers with players?
1. I have never seen any player have this number except for the goalkeeper.
2. Most typically, this is strictly a central defender's number. He is, after all, first in line after the goalkeeper in defensive authority!
3. One would naturally think that it would be next in line for a defender, but a number of midfielders might opt for it. They would tend to be defensive; I must mention Sierra Leone's Mohammed Kallon, though, as he's a striker who wears Inter's #3 for somewhat superstitious reasons; he doesn't trust double digits. That is fair to me. Football Numerology sounds superstitious to the casual onlooker, I'd imagine.
4. Defender, I'd say, but this one is a bit versatile. This would probably be used by a central defender who is able to play in a wider defensive role. In this way, I'd say that he wouldn't be as important to the centre of the defence as his colleagues- why would they shift him if he were crucial?
This is just casual thinking though. Some fantastic central defenders do indeed choose this number as well as some of the best wingbacks (AC Milan's Kaladze comes to mind, most certainly).
Furthermore, I've seen this number used by a few Midfielders as well. They tend to be central midfielders, and are usually quite versatile themselves. Atletico Madrid's Demitri Albertini, anyone?
5. In an orthodox team, this would probably be a midfielder's number. Some of the best in the game (Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane, as well as AC Milan's Fernando Redondo) are prime examples. However, it is often the number of a defender who spends much of his time on the bench.
6. Either a defender or a midfielder, you decide. The defender would help warm the bench, whilst the midfielder would probably sit next to him but see more playing time.
7. Ah, another number that strikes out at me! This is the number of a winger; someone who has great pace, and plays a wide role, usually supporting either a central striker positioned ahead, or a rock-solid core of a midfield. I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that a wingback (a winger whose position is in defence) would grab at this number, but it is very common for those on either side of the midfield (examples being Juventus' Gianluca Pessotto and Inter's Sergio Conceiçao).
Might I add too that it has become a popular choice for strikers with similar characteristics. These strikers are speedy little devils, and quite often have good ball control so they make able playmakers as well. Some examples are Lazio's Claudio Lopez, Barcelona's Javier Saviola, Real Madrid's Raul Gonzales, and AC Milan's Andriy Shevchenko. They usually prefer the number 7 to even the prestigious... *gasps*... number 9!
8. Sounds to me like another winger's number, but that's only because the name 'Protti' is funny and he had that shirt for Udinese at one point. You do find that a lot of people with this number play in wide roles, but they tend to have the ability to play more centrally if and when necessary and include Juventus veteran, Antonio Conte and AC Milan talent, Gennaro Gattuso.
In addition, a number of strikers opt for this number such as Lazio's Enrico Chiesa and Predrag Mijatovic who scored the winner for his team in 1998 against mine in the final of the UEFA Champion's league. Might I add that his latest club has gone bankrupt and all of their players have been sold off. Aww.
9. If ever there were an easier number to generalise for... the best striker on any given football team tends to have this shirt. Well, that is sometimes questionable because #10 is often more essential, but #9 is more often than not, an attacking striker who, when given the ball, is very likely to make no mistakes about putting it at the back of the net, often with capable creativity. On the downside, the player often is weak in most other areas of play- he often is a bad passer, and cannot support anyone but himself.
There are many examples; you have the goal-poachers such as AC Milan's Filippo Inzaghi, Juventus' Marcelo Salas (what the hell was the point of buying him anyway) and Real Madrid's Fernando Morientes; then you've got the more well-balanced #9's such as Roma's Vincenzo Montella and Dortmund's Jan Koller (that's how you spell his first name? *whistles an Audioslave descendo*)
10. My favourite number, and the most important on the pitch. He who wears it could play in the midfield, he could play as a striker but, generally, this player is very creative and is able to mastermind the real-time tactics in operation necessary to earn a goal. He is essentially, then, a playmaker, but is often blessed with the ability to score when required. In some cases, as illustrated by Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero, the player is so good a goalscorer that his playmaking skills seem to play second fiddle, but it should be emphasized that it is players as unique as these who form the core of a team- you only miss them and crumble when they are gone.
Typical examples include Brazil's Rivaldo, who was good enough to fill the large boots (and #10 shirt) of football god, Pelé, Roberto Baggio (wherever he plays... except for the national team), and Real Madrid's Luis Figo.
I apologise, but I had to make note of the fact that there are also certain goal-poaching, supposed-to-be-#9s who find themselves wearing #10 shirts by some means or the other. Manchester United's Ruud Van Nistelrooy first comes to mind, but there are a few others such as Hernan Créspo (when at Lazio). This type of thoughtless thinking is embarrassing.
11. This is either the number of someone on the wing, or someone who was one step away from securing the sacred #10 shirt. Pavel Nedved, of Juventus, is a perfect example as he fits the bill on both counts: he plays as a wide midfielder, but has the ability to play as a freely-moving playmaker as well. Ronaldo, though, is a case of not getting a #9 shirt.
12. Oddly enough, this seems to be synonymous with the second string goalkeeper, such as both Juventus' Antonio Chimenti and Milan's Dida.
13. Pause. The best central defender at this present time wears this shirt, Italian, Alessandro Nesta. He is one of a number of talented central defenders who prefer it, including Juventus' Mark Iuliano and Inter's Fabio Cannavaro (don't quote me on him though, it's 3am and I'm sleepy).
14. Valentine's delight, yet I hate Thierry Henry and he made this shirt famous. I don't actually hate him, I just dislike him...
I think this number tends to be associated with players who possess tough character and accurate passing ability. Henry is a good example, but others such as Cristiano Zenoni of Juventus and Dario Simic of AC Milan are non-striking alternatives.
15. A boring number. Some formidable strikers such as Christian Vieri and Jon Dahl Tomasson (Italy's World Cup 98 Campaign and AC Milan, respectively) chose it, but I prefer to associate it with boring, veteran, second-string defenders such as Birindelli from Juventus. Sorry.
16. A tough midfielder with good passing ability and good sense of awareness. Wouldn't bet my money on it though.
17. I tend to think of a winger, very similar to #7, but with less of a chance of it being preferred by a striker. Examples include Italy's Pessotto.
I should note that Henry's striking partner (emphasis and enunciation on syllables in the word) David Trezeguet wears this number. Sigh, so much to break the mould... I would've even preferred Trezeguet to wear Juventus' #9 to that incompetent Salas, you know.
18. A striker's number... chosen when #9 is unavailable. The logic is that the sum of both digits equals 9, and some even go as far as to mathematically illustrate that (see Ivan Zamorano above in the introduction). There are a lot of less-fortunately rewarded, but nevertheless talented, strikers who have fallen victim to this temptation. Darko Kovacevic suffered through it during his time at Juventus, and Marco Di Vaio did well to replace both he and his number; Roberto Baggio did it for the World Cup in 1998 because Del Piero was given the coveted #10 though.
19. Similar to #18, the sum of 1 and 9 is 10, and this is the motive behind some of those strikers who choose it. Another way to look at it, is that the final number is a #9, so you could ignore the 1: this is the way that former AC Milan and present Atletico Madrid striker, Javi Moreno (a true #9 at heart, I believe) chose to view it anyway.
Unlike #18 though, this is also a popular number for defenders. AC Milan's Alessandro Costacurta and Roma's Walter Samuel are good examples, both being efficient defenders who could've easily secured a different, more typical number had the need arisen.
20. This is the most popular choice for a player who thinks himself destined for #10 glory, but whose dreams are shattered when everyone else thinks otherwise. I've seen it in midfield a lot (Clarence Seedorf for AC Milan) but it also exists at times for strikers. How bout Totti for Italy in Euro 2000?
21. Versatile. It has been used by famous defenders (Juventus' Lilian Thuram), famous midfielders (Zinedine Zidane before moving to Real Madrid- he was #21 for about 5 years) and famous strikers (Hernan Crespo for River Plate, and Simone Inzaghi, currently at Lazio). I think it is linked to fame and skill... kind of a lucky number. Although it is a bit odd that the defenders and midfielders tend to be tough and strong, whilst their striking counterparts are weak and lack playmaking skills.
Written By Marcus E.K. Rampersad