People are only just realising why these 15 stars including Foden and Bellingham have bizarre shirt numbers | The Sun

WOUT WEGHORST completed his move to Manchester United and quickly plumped for the No27 shirt.

A bizarre choice, perhaps – but the Dutchman explained his logic.

Weghorst called it a "striker's number", as 2 + 7 = 9.

So, in the former Burnley man's head, at least, Weghorst will rock the No9 jersey at Old Trafford.

But the United new-boy is by no means the only player to sport an odd kit number for good reason.

We've taken a look at 15 more stars with a bizarre – or occasionally touching – reason for their shirt number.

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Jude Bellingham – 22

THE England star burst onto the scene at Championship side Birmingham before joining Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham made 41 league appearances in his only season in the senior squad.

Despite that, the Three Lions ace, still only 19, had his No22 shirt number retired.

Fans may be starting to realise why Birmingham made the seemingly bizarre decision.

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But many don't realise why he wears No22 in the first place.

Birmingham's head of academy Mike Dodds revealed he was awarded it as a kid to show he "can do all of it" – as a No4, 8 or 10.

Add those numbers together and you get, you guessed it, 22.

Phil Foden – 47

THE Manchester City star has become a key figure of Pep Guardiola's dominant squad.

Despite that, he's decided to stick with the out-there No47, despite being offered Sergio Aguero's No10 jersey.

But it turns out, there's a touching reason for it.

Foden's late grandfather Ronnie passed away at the age of 47 when the England whiz was still in the club's academy.

And he's stuck with it ever since out of respect.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 66

MANY would think the No66 is a nod to England's last World Cup title in 1966.

But it's not even that complicated.

Academy players are often given higher numbers, well into the 30s, 40s and beyond.

Liverpool's kit management coordinator Lee Radcliffe revealed he gave a young Trent the No66.

And he's stuck with it ever since after growing attached to it despite his rise to superstardom since his 2017 breakthrough.

Mario Balotelli – 45

THE Italian hothead has sported the No45 throughout his career.

And, much like Weghorst, there's a mathematical reason behind it.

Balotelli claims he wanted to wear the No9, but settled for 45 as 4 + 5 = 9.

His choices were further limited as, at the time as a youngster at Inter Milan, he was told to pick a number between 36 and 50.

Left-back Simone Fautario had already swiped the No36, so 45 was his only option to keep his "lucky" number.

Balotelli has since worn it at Man City, Liverpool and AC Milan.

Kalidou Koulibaly – 26

MANY Chelsea fans know the Senegal star called John Terry for permission to wear the No26 shirt.

But Koulibaly doesn't actually wear the kit number because of the Blues' "captain, leader, legend".

In fact, both Koulibaly and his wife share the same birthday – June 20… or 20/6.

The centre-back shortened it to 26 during his time at Napoli and never looked back.

Koulibaly had previously worn 25 and 5 at Metz and Genk before his move to Italy.

Nicklas Bendtner – 52

THE Danish ace wore three numbers at Arsenal – 33, 26 and 52.

While wearing the No26, it's bizarrely claimed a psychic told Bendtner's mum the No8 was unlucky.

As 2 + 6 = 8, Bendtner opted for a change.

He wanted his lucky No7, but with that taken by Tomas Rosicky, he opted to go down the maths route.

And so, Bendtner took the No52. Quite why he didn't opt for 25, which was also free, is unclear.

Bruno Guimaraes – 39

THE Newcastle star has played for four clubs in his career across the globe.

But one thing has remained consistent… Guimaraes wearing the No39.

And it turns out there's a reason – his dad.

Guimaraes' father drove a taxi. And his number was, you guessed it, 39.

Lionel Messi – 30

YOUNGER fans will only have ever seen Messi wearing the No10 jersey during his time at Barcelona.

But, with Neymar wearing the No10 at PSG, the Argentine was forced to go back to his roots.

Messi wore the No30 for his Barcelona debut and thought it would bring him luck in France.

Well, he has won the World Cup now, so…

Donny van de Beek – 34

A NUMBER of Dutch stars, including Man Utd ace Van de Beek, wear the No34.

And there's a touching reason for that.

In a pre-season friendly in 2017, Ajax youngster Abdelhak Nouri collapsed on the pitch.

At the age of just 20, Nouri was left him with permanent brain damage.

Nouri sported the No34 during his playing days.

And now Van de Beek is one of many ex-Ajax stars, including Justin Kluivert.

Dejan Kulusevski – 44

PRIOR to taking the No21 shirt at Tottenham, the Swede wore No44 at Juventus, Parma and Atalanta.

And the odd choice has an even more bizarre reason behind it.

Kulusevski had his head turned by a former Man Utd star during a pre-season friendly.

And that man was Old Trafford flop Adnan Januzaj.

Mesut Ozil – 67

AFTER having his Arsenal contract terminated, Ozil headed to Fenerbahce.

And, rather than take his iconic No10, he opted for the left-field option of No67.

It's believed the unusual number is a sweet nod to his heritage.

The number 67 is the area code of Zonguldak, the Turkish province his family lived in before emigrating to Germany.

Leon Bailey – 31

THE former Bayer Leverkusen star was a marquee signing at Aston Villa in 2021.

Bailey would have been expected to take a traditional winger's number like 7 or 11, as one of the club's stars.

But instead, he opted for No31… because of Raheem Sterling.

England ace Sterling, currently Chelsea's No17, was No11 at Man City before his summer move.

However, the winger – like Bailey, born in Jamaica – wore No31 during his early career at Liverpool.

Bailey idolised Sterling and took his old number at his first senior club, Genk, before taking the No9 shirt at Leverkusen.

But after signing for Villa, he opted to switch back.

Bruno Fernandes – 8 & 18

WHEN Fernandes arrived at Old Trafford, his preferred No8 was occupied by Juan Mata, so he settled for 18.

But it was no skin of his nose, as he was happy to take it in a touching gesture for his wife – who was born on the April 18, 1994.

However, when the No8 was vacated, Fernandes was quick to snap it up – this time thanks to his dad.

Fernandes' father was also a footballer and wore the No8 until he was forced to give up his career to provide for his family.

The Man Utd star's decision to take the No8 is in recognition of his dad's sacrifice.

Casemiro – 18

ANOTHER Man Utd star, another case of the No18 shirt.

Casemiro took the kit number after it was vacated by Mata – and the reason is buried in Old Trafford history.

The Brazilian – who has made a staggeringly positive impact at the club since his summer move – took the number as he's a huge Paul Scholes fan.

But this isn't just a case of trying to keep the United fans sweet.

Casemiro also wore No18 early in his Real Madrid career, when he was playing for their B team.

David Beckham – 23

FAMOUSLY one of England and Man Utd's best ever No7s, Beckham switched his jersey number up upon leaving England.

Becks joined Real Madrid in 2003 and quickly took the No23 shirt.

And that's all down to his love of NBA legend Michael Jordan, who famously wore the same number in his hey-day.

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Beckham isn't the only footballer to rock the No23 in honour of MJ, though.

Fikayo Tomori is just one current example of a star wearing the same shirt number in honour of His Airness.


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