Radamel Falcao added to soccer jersey number crime list with Rayo Vallecano move
The Colombian forward secured an eye-catching transfer to La Liga minnows Rayo Vallecano, but his choice of shirt number will raise a few eyebrows and remind us of similar quirks.
Radamel Falcao has completed his transfer to Rayo Vallecano after leaving Turkish giants Galatasaray.
The Colombian forward will join the newly-promoted La Liga for this campaign as he looks to build on the 331 goals he has scored during his senior career.
Falcao has already enjoyed two extremely successful seasons in the Spanish capital, when he scored 70 goals in two campaigns at Atletico Madrid between 2011 and 2013.
His late entry with Rayo means the forward who has been synonymous with the number 9 shirt throughout his career will instead wear the Spanish club’s number 3 – the shirt usually reserved for left-backs.
It is a jersey crime in the eyes of football traditionalists who believe this number looks wrong and is unnatural for a striker.
In this spirit, Football Mirror takes a look at some of the most eye-catching soccer jersey numbers.
Chilean forward Ivan ‘Bam Bam’ Zamorano was one of the greatest strikers of the 1990s but had to step aside when he was joined at Inter by Brazilian phenomenon Ronaldo.
The two forged a gripping and exciting partnership, but Ronaldo was given the number 9, previously Zamorano’s, who instead had an innovative solution.
Rather than wearing a different number, Zamorano instead wore 1 + 8 – meaning he technically always had the same number… after some basic math.
When Fulham signed Aboubakar Kamara from Amiens in 2017, they were surprised when he asked for jersey number 47.
This was immediately explained by the fact that the attacker wanted to be called AK-47 – an assault rifle officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova.
Developed in the Soviet Union by Russian small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, it is today one of the most recognized gun models in the world.
NBA player Andrei Kirilenko – who, as you’ll see, had the same initials – had previously adopted this number, so it wasn’t entirely Kamara’s initiative.
Hisha m Zerouali
Aberdeen secured the signing of Moroccan international Hicham Zerouali (pronounced zero-alley) and has been affectionately dubbed Zero by Pittodrie fans.
This earned him the club’s number 0 in the following campaign – the first player to be given the shirt number – in 2000.
Zerouali was tragically killed in a car crash in 2004, aged just 27.
Remaining in Scotland, Hibs forward Derek Riordan returned to the club in 2008 after a brief stint at Celtic.
The forward was not happy that his number 10 jersey was not available as it was occupied by his teammate and fellow striker Colin Nish.
As an alternative, Riordan decided to wear the 01 jersey as a solution – although he inherited the number 10 again the following year.
What examples of unusual jersey numbers have we missed? Let us know in the comments below
In the 2008/09 season, Italian giant Milan decided to adapt an unusual strategy when assigning shirt numbers to their new players.
They signed the trio of Ronaldinho from Barcelona, Mathieu Flamini from Arsenal and Andriy Shevchenko from Chelsea – all giving them unusual shirt numbers.
Ronaldinho took 80, Flamini received the 84 jersey and Shevchenko had 76 – while the subsequent signings of Robinho (83) and Stephan El Shaarawy (92) were similar.
This was due to the year of birth of each of the players – although this policy was quickly discontinued.
One of the most notable full-backs of the 1990s and early 2000s, Lizarazu took the jersey number policy to a different level.
He wore the number 69 on his second stint at Bayern Munich in 2005, and was quick to call it an obscene move.
Not only was he born in 1969, but his height was 1.69m and – whether by design or by accident – his weight was exactly 69kg rather thin.
Argentina teams for the 1978 and 1982 World Cups
Argentina numbered their players in alphabetical order during the 1978 and 1982 World Cups, which allowed Tottenham’s cult hero Ossie Ardilles to have the number 1 jersey in this last edition.
Goalkeeper Hector Balley wore jersey number 2 with forwards Daniel Bertoni, Gabriel Calderon and Ramon Diaz occupying shirts 4, 5 and 6 respectively.
There was of course an exception to this rule, with the number 10 worn by Diego Maradona – who was 12 years old e alphabetically!
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