List of retired numbers in association football

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Association football clubs around the world sometimes retire squad numbers to recognise players' loyal service, most as a memorial after their death.


Signed jersey worn by Diego Maradona during his tenure on Italian club Napoli, exhibited at the San Siro Museum of Milan. The number 10 he wore was retired by Napoli in 2000[1]

This practice, long established in the major North American sports, is a recent development in football since squad numbers for specific players were not widely used until the 1990s. Before then, it was typical for players in the starting lineup to be issued numbers 1 to 11 by formation/position on a match-by-match basis, and substitutes to be numbered from 12 upwards, meaning a player might wear different numbers during the season if they were to play in different positions for tactical reasons, or simply not be a regular in the starting lineup.

Nevertheless, in the American league NASL, players always wore permanent numbers since its inception in 1967.[2] Moreover, Pelé's #10 was retired by the New York Cosmos during the farewell of the Brazilian star in 1977,[3] probably becoming the first number ever retired in association football.[4]

Mexico was pioneer country in the use of permanent numbers in football, being adopted in Primera División in the 1980s.[5]

Retiring a player's number usually occurs after the player has left the team or retired. It honours a player who has meant so much to his club that they retire the shirt number that the player wore during their time there, meaning no other player is permitted to use that number in the future. In some cases, such as those of Jason Mayélé, Vittorio Mero, Marc-Vivien Foé, Miklós Fehér, Ray Jones, Dylan Tombides, François Sterchele, David di Tommaso, Antonio Puerta, Besian Idrizaj, Piermario Morosini and Davide Astori, numbers have been retired to posthumously honour a player who died while still active. Also, Norwegian club Fredrikstad retired Dagfinn Enerly's number following an on-pitch accident that left him paralysed. In Britain, only Bobby Moore's, Jack Lester's and Jude Bellingham's shirt numbers have been retired due to great service to the club as opposed to a tragic incident. Although it has not been officially retired, Gianfranco Zola's No. 25 shirt and John Terry’s No. 26 have not been reissued by Chelsea since they left the club in 2003 and 2017 respectively.

The Argentina, Ecuador and Cameroon national teams have been prevented from retiring the numbers of Diego Maradona (10), Christian Benítez (11)[6] and Marc-Vivien Foé (17), respectively, by FIFA rules dealing with squad numbers for Finals tournaments; in other competitions, qualifiers or friendlies, national associations may assign numbers according to criteria of their choosing. Similarly, several clubs have been required to reissue retired numbers for continental club competitions due to squad numbering rules of continental confederations. For example, CAF and CONMEBOL have such rules in their club competitions, but CONCACAF does not.

Some South American teams (such as Universitario de Deportes or Flamengo, and even Mexican teams invited for the occasions) have occasionally had to re-issue their retired numbers for special cases due to CONMEBOL rules, which state that shirts must be numbered 1–25 in continental club competitions (such as Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, among others).

Retired numbers[edit]

Team No. Player Position Career Notes
Algeria JS Kabylie 9 Cameroon Albert Ebossé Bodjongo Forward 2013–2014 posthumous
Argentina Godoy Cruz 18 Uruguay Santiago García Forward 2016–2021 posthumous[7][8][9]
Austria Rapid Wien 5 Austria Peter Schöttel Defender 1986–2001 His number was temporarily retired for at least 10 years. In 2013, it was reactivated and given to Thanos Petsos.
Austria Rapid Wien 11 Germany Steffen Hofmann Midfielder 2002–2018 Retired for at least 11 years
Austria Red Bull Salzburg 26 Spain Jonathan Soriano Striker 2012–2017 Club's Legend[10]
Austria Sturm Graz 3 Austria Günther Neukirchner Defender 1989–2006
Austria Sturm Graz 7 Austria Mario Haas Striker 1993–2012
Austria SV Ried 27 Austria Sanel Kuljic Striker 2003–2006
Belgium Club Brugge 23 Belgium François Sterchele Striker 2007–2008 posthumous[11]
Belgium OH Leuven 13 Belgium Bjorn Ruytinx Striker 2004–2014 Club's Legend
Belgium UR Namur 3 Belgium Michel Soulier Defender 1967–1977 posthumous
Brazil Avaí 88 Brazil Cléber Santana Midfielder 2012
Brazil Palmeiras 12 Brazil Marcos Goalkeeper 1993–2012 For goalkeepers only. Outfield players have worn the number since his retirement.
Brazil São Paulo 01 Brazil Rogério Ceni Goalkeeper 1990–2015 His double-digit number, worn from 2007, was retired on 12 December 2015 when he retired from football. The single-digit '1' may still be used, but the iconic '01', which is an inverted '10', is retired.[13]
Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv 8 Bulgaria Hristo Bonev Midfielder 1963–1967
Club Legend
Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad 84 Bulgaria Marcelinho Midfielder 2011–2020 Club Legend
Canada CF Montreal 20 Canada Mauro Biello Forward 1993–1998
Chile Cobreloa 8 Chile Fernando Cornejo Midfielder 1992–1997
China Beijing Enterprises 24 Ivory Coast Cheick Tioté Midfielder 2017 posthumous
China Chengdu Blades 18 China Yao Xia Striker 2005–2010
China Dalian Shide 26 China Zhang Yalin Midfielder 2000–2009 posthumous
China Dalian Transcendence 17 China Wang Renlong Striker 2014 posthumous
Costa Rica Alajuelense 20 Costa Rica Mauricio Montero Defender 1985–1997
Costa Rica Cartaginés 11 Costa Rica Leonel Hernández Winger 1957–1977
Costa Rica Cartaginés 18 Uruguay Claudio Ciccia Forward 2002–2004
Cyprus Anorthosis Famagusta 14 Georgia (country) Temur Ketsbaia Midfielder 1991–1994
Czech Republic Dynamo České Budějovice 8 Czech Republic Karel Poborský Midfielder 1991–1994
Denmark AaB 12 Denmark Torben Boye Defender 1984–2002
Denmark Nordsjælland 26 Denmark Jonathan Richter Midfielder 2005–2009 Lost his leg as a result of a lightning strike
Denmark Næstved BK 7 Denmark Rasmus Green Midfielder 2005–2006 posthumous
Denmark Viborg FF 22 Denmark Søren Frederiksen Striker 1989–1994
England Accrington Stanley 29 Northern Ireland Billy Kee Striker 2009–2010
Retired due to mental health issues
England Birmingham City 22 England Jude Bellingham Midfielder 2019–2020 Youngest-ever first-team player and goalscorer
England Chesterfield 14 England Jack Lester Striker 2007–2013
England Exeter City 9 England Adam Stansfield Forward 2006–2010 Following Stansfield's death from colorectal cancer during the 2010–11 season, the club retired his number 9 shirt for the following nine seasons.[14] From the 2020–21 season onwards, the shirt will be worn by a 'home-grown player'.[15]
England Hartlepool United 25 England Michael Maidens[16] Midfielder 2004–2007 posthumous
England Macclesfield Town 21 England Richard Butcher[17] Midfielder 2010–2011 posthumous
England Manchester City 23 Cameroon Marc-Vivien Foé[16] Midfielder 2002–2003 died on the pitch while playing for Cameroon, was at Manchester City on loan from Lyon at the time
England Queens Park Rangers 31 England Ray Jones[16] Forward 2006–2007 posthumous
England Rushden & Diamonds 1 England Dale Roberts[18] Goalkeeper 2008–2010 posthumous
England West Ham United 6 England Bobby Moore[16] Centre back 1958–1974 posthumous
England West Ham United 38 Australia Dylan Tombides[19] Striker 2010–2014 posthumous
England Wycombe Wanderers 14 England Mark Philo[16] Midfielder 2004–2006 posthumous
France Clermont 14 France Clément Pinault Defender 2008–2009 posthumous
France Lens 17 Cameroon Marc-Vivien Foé Midfielder 1995–1999 posthumous
France Nantes 9 Argentina Emiliano Sala Striker 2015–2019 posthumous[20]
France Rennes 29 France Romain Danzé Right back 2006–2019 [21]
France Sedan 29 France David di Tommaso Centre back 2000–2004 posthumous
Germany Wacker Burghausen 11 Slovakia Marek Krejčí Striker 2004–2007 posthumous
Germany VfL Wolfsburg 19 Belgium Junior Malanda Midfielder 2012–2015 posthumous
Greece AEL 24 United States Kobe Bryant Shooting guard 1996–2016 Basketball legend, posthumous. Retired on January 27, 2020. [2]
Greece PAOK 17 Greece Panagiotis Katsouris Midfielder 1996–1998 posthumous
Greece Skoda Xanthi 13 Nigeria Olubayo Adefemi Defender 2010–2011 posthumous
Greece Skoda Xanthi 56 Ivory Coast Steve Gohouri Defender 2013–2014 posthumous
Guatemala CSD Municipal 15 Guatemala Juan Carlos Plata Forward 1990–2010
Haiti Roulado 7 Haiti Jean-Robert Menelas Striker 1993–2007 Number was retired in recognition of his career at the club and for his all-time record goal scoring in the league. He is the first in the history of Haitian football to have a number permanently removed from use.[22][23]
Honduras Olimpia 11 Honduras Wilmer Velásquez Forward 1991–1995
Club Legend
Honduras Motagua 16 Honduras Edy Vásquez Midfielder 2003–2007 posthumous, retired from 2007–2009
Hong Kong Happy Valley 2 Hong Kong Leung Sui Wing Sweeper 1976–1997
Hong Kong Hong Kong Rangers 15 Hong Kong Cheung Yiu Lun Defender 1992–1995
Hong Kong Tai Po FC 16 China Mao Mengsuo Midfielder 2008–2010 posthumous
Hungary Diósgyőri VTK 77 Spain José Juan Luque Winger 1996–2013 Number retired on 2 June 2013 in respect of Luque being the most professional player in the DVTK history. His number retired for 10 years.
Hungary Ferencváros 2 Hungary Tibor Simon Right fullback 1985–1999 posthumous
Hungary Kispest AC/Honvéd 10 Hungary Ferenc Puskás Deep-lying forward 1939–1956 retired in 2000, died 2006
India Kerala Blasters 21 India Sandesh Jhingan Defender 2014–2020 Club's Legend[24]
India Bethlehem Vengthlang 21 India Peter Biaksangzuala Midfielder –2014 posthumous, after the player died celebrating a goal.[25]
India Dempo SC 10 Brazil Christiano Junior Striker 2004 posthumous[26]
Indonesia Arema 47 Indonesia Achmad Kurniawan Goalkeeper 2006–2008
Indonesia Persebaya Surabaya 19 Indonesia Eri Irianto Midfielder 1998–2000 posthumous
Indonesia Persela Lamongan 1 Indonesia Choirul Huda Goalkeeper 1999–2017 posthumous
Indonesia Persis Solo 33 Paraguay Diego Mendieta Striker 2011–2012 posthumous
Iran Persepolis 24 Iran Hadi Norouzi[27][28][29][30] Midfielder
2008–2015 posthumous
Died while sleeping. The cause of death was heart failure. A few days after the incident, Persepolis football club confirmed that the number 24 will be retired.
Iran Sepahan 4 Iran Moharram Navidkia Midfielder 1998–2004
Iran Zob Ahan 30 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh[31] Midfielder 2003–2007
Republic of Ireland Derry City 18 Republic of Ireland Mark Farren Striker 2000–2014 Number was retired in dedication to the club's all-time record goal scorer after he died of cancer.
Republic of Ireland Limerick FC 4 Republic of Ireland Joe O'Mahony Centre back 1966–1986 posthumous[32][33]
Israel Hapoel Be'er Sheva 6 Zambia Chaswe Nsofwa Striker 2007 posthumous
Israel Maccabi Haifa 20 Israel Yaniv Katan Midfielder/Forward 1998–2006
Club's Legend
Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 8 Israel Avi Nimni Forward 1990–1997
Club's Legend
Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 12 Israel Meni Levi Right Back 2000–2002
Italy Atalanta 14 Italy Federico Pisani Deep-lying forward 1991–1997 posthumous
Italy Bari 2 Italy Giovanni Loseto Defender 1982–1993
Italy Bologna 27 Italy Niccolò Galli Defender 2000–2001 posthumous
Italy Brescia 10 Italy Roberto Baggio Deep-lying forward 2000–2004 Club's Legend
Italy Brescia 13 Italy Vittorio Mero Defender 1998–2001
Italy Cagliari 11 Italy Gigi Riva Striker 1963–1978 Club's Legend
Italy Cagliari 13 Italy Davide Astori Defender 2008–2014 posthumous
Italy Chievo 30 Democratic Republic of the Congo Jason Mayélé Left/right winger 2001–2002 posthumous
Italy Crotone 4 Italy Antonio Galardo Midfielder 1995–1998
Club's Legend
Italy Fiorentina 13 Italy Davide Astori Defender 2015–2018 posthumous
Italy Genoa 6 Italy Gianluca Signorini Sweeper 1988–1995 posthumous
Italy Genoa 7 Italy Marco Rossi Midfielder 2003–2004
Club's Legend
Italy Internazionale 3 Italy Giacinto Facchetti Left fullback 1961–1978 posthumous
Italy Internazionale 4 Argentina Javier Zanetti[34][35] Right fullback 1995–2014 Club's Legend
Italy Livorno 25 Italy Piermario Morosini Midfielder 2012 posthumous[36]
Italy Messina 41 Italy Salvatore Sullo Midfielder 2001–2007
Italy Milan 3 Italy Paolo Maldini Defender 1984–2009 Club's Legend
Italy Milan 6 Italy Franco Baresi[16] Defender 1977–1997 Club's Legend
Italy Napoli 10 Argentina Diego Maradona Midfielder 1984–1991 Club's Legend
Italy Parma 6 Italy Alessandro Lucarelli Defender 2008–2018 Club's Legend
Italy Pescara 4 Italy Vincenzo Zucchini Midfielder 1973–1979 posthumous
Italy Salernitana 4 Italy Roberto Breda Midfielder 1993–1999
Club's Legend
Italy Siena 4 Italy Michele Mignani Defender 1996–1997
Club's Legend
Italy Vicenza 3 Italy Giulio Savoini Defender 1953–1966 posthumous
Italy Vicenza 25 Italy Piermario Morosini Midfielder 2007–2009
Jamaica Montego Bay 2 Jamaica Stephen Malcolm Defender 1989–2001 posthumous
Jamaica Reno F.C. 7 Jamaica Caple Donaldson Midfielder posthumous
Japan Fujieda MYFC 2 Japan Toshihide Saito Defender 2009–2013
Japan Thespa Kusatsu 31 Japan Ryosuke Okuno Defender 2002–2003
Japan Yokohama F. Marinos 3 Japan Naoki Matsuda Defender 1995–2010 posthumous
Kazakhstan FC Astana 1 Kazakhstan Nenad Erić Goalkeeper 2011–2020 [37][38]
Kazakhstan FC Shakhter Karagandy 14 Kazakhstan Andrei Finonchenko Forward 2000–2016 [39]
Kosovo Llapi 9 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Fadil Vokrri Forward 1976–1979 posthumous
Liberia Liberia 14 Liberia George Weah Striker 1987–2018 [40]
Libya Al Ahly Tripoli 14 Libya Tarik El Taib Midfielder 1995–2001
Maldives VB Addu FC 7 Maldives Ali Ashfaq Forward 2008–2011
Malta Valletta 7 Malta Gilbert Agius Midfielder 1990–2013 Club's Legend. Still serves today as an assistant coach of the senior team.
Mexico Atlante 12 Mexico Félix Fernández Goalkeeper 1989–1998
Mexico Guadalajara 8 Mexico Salvador Reyes Striker 1953–1967
Mexico Guadalajara 22 Mexico José Martínez González Midfielder 1970–1981 posthumous
Mexico Monterrey 26 Chile Humberto Suazo Forward 2007–2014 Number retired on 12 December 2014
Mexico Monterrey 28 Mexico Jesús Arellano Right Winger 1992–1997
The shirt is not fully retired. Arellano has given consent for his son to adopt the number 28.
Mexico Pachuca 1 Colombia Miguel Calero Goalkeeper 2000–2011 His number had been retired on 23 October 2011 after Calero's retirement as a professional player. Later his number was retired again posthumous when he died on 4 December 2012.
Mexico Pachuca 17 Costa Rica Hernán Medford Forward/Winger 1994–1997
Mexico Pachuca 20 Argentina Pablo Gómez Forward/Winger 1999–2001 posthumous
Mexico Pachuca 110 Colombia Andrés Chitiva Midfielder 2001–2008
Mexico UANL 7 Peru Gerónimo Barbadillo Midfielder 1977–1982
Mexico UNAM 12 Mexico Sergio Bernal Goalkeeper 1989–1997
Morocco Raja Casablanca 23 Morocco Zakaria Zerouali Defender 2011
Netherlands Ajax 14 Netherlands Johan Cruyff Forward 1957–1973
Club Legend
Netherlands Ajax 34 Netherlands Abdelhak Nouri Midfielder 2016-2017 Nouri collapsed on the pitch after suffering severe cardiac arrhythmia so therefore Ajax retired his number in honour
Netherlands NAC Breda 13 Netherlands Ferry van Vliet Midfielder 2001–2002 posthumous
Netherlands Telstar 22 Netherlands Luciano van den Berg Defender 2004–2005 posthumous
Netherlands Utrecht 4 France David di Tommaso Centre back 2004–2005 posthumous
Netherlands Vitesse 4 Netherlands Theo Bos Defender 1983–1998 posthumous
New Zealand Wellington Phoenix 22 New Zealand Andrew Durante Defender 2008–2019 [41]
North Macedonia FK Osogovo 7 North Macedonia Nikola Mantov Forward ?-1973 In 1973, during a football match between FK Osogovo and FK FAS 11 Oktomvri from Skopje, the 23-year-old Nikola Mantov –one of the best players of FK Osogovo at the time– collapsed on the field and died.[42] In his honor, the home-ground of FK Osogovo was named Nikola Mantov Stadium and the number 7 shirt was retired in his honour.
Northern Ireland Linfield 11 Northern Ireland Noel Bailie Defender 1986–2011 number retired in 2011 to commemorate his world record of 1,013 senior appearances for the club
Norway Fredrikstad 8 Norway Dagfinn Enerly Winger 2004–2005
Panama Árabe Unido 21 Panama Amílcar Henríquez Midfielder 2003–2008
Panama Chepo 77 Panama Jonathan Rodríguez Midfielder 2006–2009 posthumous
Peru Universitario de Deportes 22 Peru José Luis Carranza Midfielder 1986–2004
Poland Lech Poznań 9 Poland Piotr Reiss Forward 1994–1998
Poland Legia Warsaw 10 Poland Kazimierz Deyna Midfielder 1966–1978 posthumous
Poland Widzew Łódź 11 Poland Włodzimierz Smolarek Striker 1974–1978
Portugal Benfica 29 Hungary Miklós Fehér Striker 2002–2004 posthumous
Portugal Boavista 29 Portugal Edu Ferreira Forward 2016–2017 posthumous
Died on 23 December 2017. The number was retired on 3 January 2018. Leonardo Acevedo was the last player to hold the number, but changed to the 59 shirt midway through the 2017–2018 season[44]
Portugal União Leiria 10 Portugal Hugo Cunha Midfielder 2004–2005 posthumous; has been worn again since 2009
Romania Dinamo Bucureşti 11 Romania Cătălin Hîldan Midfielder 1994–2000 posthumous
Romania Dinamo Bucureşti 14 Cameroon Patrick Ekeng Midfielder 2016 posthumous
Romania Dinamo Bucureşti 25 Romania Ionel Dănciulescu Striker 1995–1997
Russia CSKA Moscow 16 Ukraine Serhiy Perkhun Goalkeeper 2001 posthumous
Russia Rubin Kazan 17 Russia Lenar Gilmullin Defender 2003—2007 posthumous
Russia Rubin Kazan 61 Turkey Gökdeniz Karadeniz Midfielder 2008—2018 Club's Legend
Russia Ural 23 Russia Pyotr Hrustovsky Striker 1999
El Salvador Alianza 2 El Salvador Roberto Rivas Right Back 1960–1970 posthumous
El Salvador FAS 10 El Salvador Mágico González Forward 1977–1982
El Salvador Municipal Limeño 11 El Salvador Oscar Armando Díaz Striker  –1998 posthumous[45]
Saudi Arabia Najran SC 20 Saudi Arabia Al Hasan Al-Yami Striker 1991–1996
Number retired on 31 July 2012.[46]
Serbia and Montenegro Radnički Niš 10 Serbia and Montenegro Ivan "Beli" Krstić Midfielder 2000 posthumous
Slovakia Spartak Trnava 9 Slovakia Ladislav Kuna Midfielder 1964–1980 posthumous
Slovenia Maribor 19 Croatia Stipe Balajić Defender/Midfielder 1998–2005
South Africa Ajax Cape Town 21 South Africa Cecil Lolo Defender 2015–2016 posthumous[47]
South Africa Orlando Pirates 1 South Africa Senzo Meyiwa Goalkeeper 2005–2014 posthumous[48]
South Africa Orlando Pirates 22 South Africa Lesley Manyathela Forward 2000–2003 posthumous
South Korea Daejeon Citizen FC 18 South Korea Kim Eun-jung Striker 1997–2003
South Korea Daejeon Citizen FC 21 South Korea Choi Eun-sung Goalkeeper 1998–2012
South Korea Daewoo Royals, Busan I'cons 16 South Korea Kim Joo-Sung Midfielder 1987–1992
South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 20 South Korea Lee Dong-gook Striker 2009–2020
Spain Córdoba 8 Spain Juanín Forward 1960–1970 posthumous
Spain Espanyol 21 Spain Daniel Jarque Defender 2002–2009 posthumous
Spain Extremadura 19 Spain Jose Antonio Reyes Winger 2019 posthumous[49]
Spain Real Betis 26 Spain Miki Roqué Defender 2010–2012 posthumous
Sweden Assyriska FF 18 Sweden Eddie Moussa Striker 2001–2010 posthumous
Sweden Helsingborgs IF 17 Sweden Henrik Larsson Striker 1992–1993 2006–2009
Sweden Kalmar FF 15 Sweden Johny Erlandsson Winger 1973–1988
Sweden Norrköping 18 Iceland Stefán Þórðarson Striker 2004–2007
The shirt was worn by Þórðarson during his comeback in the club during the 2009 season. Has been worn again since 2017.
Sweden Umeå IK 6 Sweden Malin Moström[50] Midfielder 1995–2006
The shirt was worn by Moström during her comeback at the club during the 2007 season.
Sweden Östers IF 6 Sweden Mario Vasilj Central Defender 2006–2018 Retired the number for six years.[51]
Switzerland Basel 2 Switzerland Massimo Ceccaroni Defender 1987–2002
Switzerland St. Gallen 17 Switzerland Marc Zellweger Defender 1994–2001
Thailand TOT-CAT 19 Thailand Chanont Wong-aree Defender 2009–2010 posthumous
Turkey Alanyaspor 90 Czech Republic Josef Šural Forward 2019 posthumous[52]
Turkey İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. 12 Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [53]
United States Kansas City 12 United States Lauren Holiday Midfielder 2013–2015
United States New York Cosmos 9 Italy Giorgio Chinaglia Striker 1976–1983 Number posthumously retired in June 2014.[54][55]
United States New York Cosmos 10 Brazil Pelé Striker 1975–1977 Number retired on 1 October 1977, at halftime.[56]
United States New York Red Bulls 99 England Bradley Wright-Phillips Forward 2013–2019 He left the New York Red Bulls in 2019, but the franchise had announced his number would be retired in August 2018.[57]
United States Portland Timbers 3 England Clive Charles Defender 1978–1981 Number posthumously retired 23 August 2003.[58]
United States Real Salt Lake 9 United States Jason Kreis Midfielder/Striker 2005–2007 Retirement ceremony held on 4 July 2011.[59][60]
United States Tampa Bay Rowdies 6 South Africa Mike Connell Defender 1975–1984 Number retired 10 August 2013[61]
United States Tampa Bay Rowdies 12 United States Perry Van der Beck Midfielder 1978–1982
Number retired 1 October 2010[62]
Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk 33 Croatia Darijo Srna[63] Defender 2003–2018
Ukraine Zorya Luhansk 33 Ukraine Maksym Iv. Bilyi Midfielder 2010–2013 posthumous[64]
Vietnam Hoàng Anh Gia Lai 13 Thailand Kiatisuk Senamuang Striker 2001–2006
Vietnam Hoàng Anh Gia Lai 14 Vietnam Võ Bá Khôi Defender 2003–2006 posthumous
Wales Swansea City 40 Austria Besian Idrizaj[65] Striker 2009–2010 posthumous

Special cases[edit]

Team No. Player Pos. Career Notes
Italy Milan 3 Italy Paolo Maldini Left back, Centre-back 1984–2009 The shirt was not fully retired. Maldini has given consent for his sons to adopt the number 3 shirt if either of them play professionally for the club.[16][66]
Italy Roma 6 Brazil Aldair Centre-back 1990–2003 The shirt number had been retired by the club when the player left the club in 2003. When Kevin Strootman joined Roma in 2013, he asked for permission to wear number 6. The club approved the request after Aldair gave his consent.[67]
Czech Republic Slavia Prague 7 Czech Republic Stanislav Vlček Striker 2004–2007
Rather than retiring the number, the club opted to freeze the number for any future player that wants it, provided that the applying player meets 7 game achievements. Among those are scoring 3 goals overall against Sparta Prague, being nominated for his national team, winning the trophy for top goalscorer and others. Even though Milan Škoda met the requirements in the 2016–17 season, he opted to keep his number 21. The 7 was eventually given to Danny upon him joining the team for 2017-18 season. Vlček gave his consent and Danny pledged to work to meet the remaining criteria.[68]
Argentina Argentina 10 Argentina Diego Maradona Midfielder 1979–1994 The number 10 had been retired by Argentine Football Association in October 2001 to honour Maradona. Before the 2002 World Cup, the AFA submitted a squad list of 23 players for the tournament, listed 1 through 24, with the number 10 omitted.[16] FIFA rejected Argentina's list, and the governing body's president, Sepp Blatter suggested the number 10 shirt be instead given to the team's third-choice goalkeeper, Roberto Bonano. AFA ultimately submitted a revised list with Ariel Ortega, originally listed as number 23, as the number 10.[69] The number 10 has been worn by other players since, most notably by Lionel Messi, whom Maradona considered "his successor".
Scotland Dunfermline Athletic 4 Scotland Norrie McCathie Defender 1981–1996 The club retired the number after club captain McCathie was found dead in his home on 8 January 1996, as a result of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.[70] At that time, Scottish League clubs used shirt numbered from 1 to 11, so for the remainder of the 1995–96 season, 12 was used instead. However, the number was not retired permanently, and has been re-issued since.
Italy Livorno 10 Italy Igor Protti Striker 1985–1988
In December 2005, Livorno officially retired the #10 jersey. However, Protti, who led the forward line and captained his side in two promotions from Serie C1 to Serie A, quickly gaining a reputation as a fan favourite, announced his willingness to see the #10 number reissued to another player, in order to "give anybody back a dream to dress it one day." This was made effective starting from the 2007–08 season, in which Francesco Tavano played with the #10 number.[71]
England Exeter City 9 England Adam Stansfield Forward 2006–2010 The club retired the number 9 for nine seasons after the striker died of cancer on 10 August 2010.[14]
Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 12 Israel Meni Levi Defender  –2007 During a game between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem, Levi chest-controlled and kicked the ball, ran back to defend, then collapsed. He returned to his feet, and then collapsed a second time. He was subsequently on a life-support machine, and has since returned home. The club claims that the number 12 is unofficially reserved for the fans.[72]
Peru Universitario 9 Peru Lolo Fernández Forward 1930–1953 Number retired only for the 2013 season.[73]
England Leeds United 17 Italy Massimo Cellino Chairman 2014 Leeds retired the number 17 shirt due to Italian chairman Massimo Cellino's superstitions, as 17 is considered an unlucky number in Italian culture. Number was re-issued in July 2019.
Scotland Motherwell 10 Scotland Phil O'Donnell Midfielder 1990–1994
Phil O'Donnell collapsed while playing for Motherwell against Dundee United in 2007. He was later pronounced dead at Wishaw General Hospital. The number 10 shirt was worn by his nephew David Clarkson during the 2008-09 season. Since Clarkson left in June 2009, it has not been retired, but has not been issued to any subsequent player.
South Africa Orlando Pirates 22 South Africa Lesley Manyathela Striker 2000−2003 The club retired the number 22, after Manyathela died in a car crash in August 2003. However, Confederation of African Football rules state that shirts must be numbered 1–30 in continental club competitions, so Pirates has been re-issued it in those special cases.
Spain Oviedo 10 Slovakia Peter Dubovský Midfielder 1995–2000 The Spanish Football League allowed Oviedo to retire number 10 just for the 2000–2001 season, as an exception to its rules. At the end of the season, number 10 was re-issued.
Spain Sevilla 16 Spain Antonio Puerta Left back, Left winger 2004–2007 The shirt has not been fully retired. It was temporarily retired after Puerta died of a cardiac arrest on the first matchday in La Liga 2007–2008 However, the Spanish Football Federation rules state that clubs must use number 1 to 25 for their regular squad, and as a result, David Prieto wore the number in 2008 in honour of his friend.[74] It has become a club policy to hold number 16 to players coming from the youth academy as a tribute to Puerta, who was a youth system product. Exceptions have been made when 16 was the only jersey number available.[75]
Norway Stabæk 7 Norway Christer Basma Central defender 1995–1998 The club had retired the number to honor his services for the club. However, the retirement was revoked after 2004 season and the number given to Henning Hauger.
England Chelsea 25 Italy Gianfranco Zola Forward 1996–2003 Chelsea have not officially retired the number 25 shirt, but it has not been allocated to another player since Zola left the club in 2003.
England Portsmouth 13 England Aaron Flahavan Goalkeeper 1994–2001 Following Flahavan's death in a car accident in August 2001, Portsmouth and his first club, Southampton, retired their number 1 shirts for the 2001-02 season as a mark of respect. From the 2003-04 season, Portsmouth retired the number 13 shirt, as this was the number Flahavan wore during the majority of his time at the club. Number 13 remained unused until 2011, when it was allocated to goalkeeper Stephen Henderson, and it has been reissued since.
United States LA Galaxy 13 United States Cobi Jones Midfielder 1996–2007 The number was not officially retired by the Galaxy but had not been worn since Jones retired. In 2017, it was given to Jermaine Jones.[76]
United States Tampa Bay Rowdies 7 South Africa Steve Wegerle Forward 1977–1981
Although his number had been retired by the original franchise in 1989,[77] the current team has reissued it.
Finland FC Haka 14 Russia Valeri Popovitch Forward 1994–2008 First ever retired shirt number in the history of Finnish football is ex-Haka's Valeri Popovitch's number 14. Popovitch has stated that his sons, who are still playing for Haka's junior teams, can wear the legendary number if they want.[78]
England Wycombe Wanderers 14 England Mark Philo Midfielder 2004–2006 Philo was killed in a car accident and the number 14 shirt retired. It was later revealed he was significantly over the drink-drive limit and his car veered on to the other side of the road, killing a 58-year-old mother of two.[79]
France Lyon 16 France Luc Borrelli Goalkeeper 1998–1999 posthumous — returned to use in 2011
France Lyon 17 Cameroon Marc-Vivien Foé Midfielder 2000–2003 posthumous — returned to use in 2008
Germany 1. FC Köln 10 Germany Lukas Podolski Winger 2002–2006
The club had announced that the number would remain out of circulation as long as Podolski is playing football on a professional level. Nevertheless, the #10 was given to Patrick Helmes in July 2014.[80]
Turkey Galatasaray 3 Turkey Bülent Korkmaz Central defender 1984–2005 Despite the club announcing the retirement of the number, it has been re-issued.
Colombia Independiente Santa Fe 23 Colombia Léider Preciado Striker 1995–1998
The number was out of circulation for a period of 23 months (starting May 2012) in honor of the second top scorer in the history of the club.[81]
Mexico Guadalajara 11 Mexico Ramón Morales Midfielder 1998–2011
2013– (as part of the coaching staff).
The shirt was never officially retired, but it was not issued out of American competitions for the time between Morales' exit and his return as a coach. All players intending to wear the jersey have to ask for Morales' consent. It is now being worn by Isaác Brizuela.
Mexico Pachuca 8 Mexico Gabriel Caballero Midfielder/Forward 1998–2002
His number was just temporarily retired for 5 years. After that period, it was reactivated and given to Hirving Lozano in 2014.[82]
Japan Sagan Tosu 17 Japan Sakata Michitaka Non-player 2001– The shirt was retired posthumously, to honour Michikata who played a key role in establishment of former Tosu Futures and their revival as Sagan Tosu, and who died due to kidney cancer on 7 January 2000. Number 17, derived from the day of his death, was selected to be retired. The number would later also be dedicated to the club's fans, thus they have not retired squad number 12 like most Japanese League teams.
Iran Persepolis 7 Iran Ali Parvin[83][84][85][86] Midfielder 1970–1987 The shirt was retired after Parvin's retirement, but Parvin gave the shirt to player Hamid Estili and the shirt has since not been retired permanently.
Spain Barcelona 21 Spain Luis Enrique Midfielder 1996–2004 Joined the club as a free agent from eternal rivals Real Madrid, and spent eight years at Barcelona. In his last years, he became the captain of the team. The shirt was retired for just two years (2004–06), since La Liga did not allow to retire numbers permanently. Former coach of the team. The number 21 shirt was awarded to Lilian Thuram in 2006.
Germany Schalke 04 7 Spain Raúl Striker 2010–2012 At the time Raúl left the club, the team intended to retire the jersey indefinitely.[87] However, the retirement of this shirt only lasted one year; since 2013 it has been worn by Max Meyer.
England Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Nigeria Carl Ikeme Goalkeeper 2003–2018 Carl Ikeme retired from professional football before the 2018–2019 season after complete remission from acute leukaemia and the club decided to leave the jersey previously worn by Ikeme vacant[88] with newly signed Rui Patrício unusually wearing the number 11[89] and the other team goalkeepers wearing numbers ending in "1".[90][91]
Australia Sydney FC 15 Northern Ireland Terry McFlynn Midfielder 2005–2014 Sydney FC have not officially retired the number 15 shirt, but it has not been allocated to another player since McFlynn retired from professional football in 2014. McFlynn also held a staffing position with Sydney FC from 2014 until 2019.
Lebanon Mohamed Atwi 20 Lebanon Akhaa Ahli Aley Midfielder 2018–2020 Akhaa Ahli Aley have retired the squad number 20, in honour of Atwi's death in 2020 due to a stray bullet in the head. The club has retired the number for two seasons—from 2020 to 2022—the duration in which Atwi stayed at the club.[92]

Dedication to fans[edit]

Some clubs dedicate a number to their fans, and do not issue it to any player. The most common number for this practice is 12, from descriptions of the fans as "the twelfth man".

In Japanese footballing tradition, almost all the professional teams retired the number 12 for their supporters. The only two teams not to retire 12 are Urawa Red Diamonds and Sagan Tosu (Sagan retired 17 for a similar reason).

Other clubs and teams include:

Notes: 1 Despite of having their number "12" retired, Brazilian clubs have had to re-issue them for CONMEBOL competitions such as Copa Libertadores, where the squads must be numbered from 1 to 25 consecutively.[95]

2 Exeter City reserve the number 12 shirt for the 'Twelfth Man' sponsor of individual games. [96]

AIK and Djurgården IF reserve the number 1 for their supporters.

Indy Eleven reserve the number 11 for their supporters.

Reading, Notts County and Bryne reserve the number 13 for their supporters, Panathinaikos reserve this number in honour of Gate 13, the ultras based in the respective gate in home matches. Norwich City also reserve the number 13 shirt for "the fans" while Shrewsbury Town reserve the number 13 shirt for the fan who wins a pre-season competition.

After their 15-point deduction, Leeds United retired the number 15 shirt for the 2007–08 season only.[97]

Bursaspor reserve the number 16 for their supporters.

AFC Bournemouth use squad number 27 for the Steve Fletcher Stand which houses the large majority of hardcore supporters, the number 50 for "12th man" and the number 99 shirt for their mascot, Cherry Bear.

Gillingham use squad number 13 for the 'Rainham End' Stand of Priestfield Stadium as this stand holds the majority of hardcore supporters.

Oldham Athletic reserve the number 40 for their fans.

Panathinaikos have reserved the number 13 in honour of Gate 13.

Levadiakos have reserved the number 10 for the club president, Giannis Kobotis.

Leicester City have reserved the number 50 for the mascot, Filbert Fox, which he wears on his shirt at every game.

APOEL have reserved the shirt number 79 in honour of PAN.SY.FI. (APOEL Ultras), to denote the year the group was founded, 1979.[98]

Rochdale retired the number 55 shirt on 13 January 2017 in honour of five-year old Joshua McCormack who lost his battle with cancer.[99]

Atlanta United reserve the number 17 for their supporters and to reference their inaugural season in Major League Soccer.[100] For the 2021 MLS season, the club also reserved the number 44 as part of a tribute by Atlanta-area sports teams in memory of Henry Aaron of the local MLB club, who died January 22, 2021, where all sports teams in the area reserved the No. 44 for the year.


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