Regarding soccer, numbers are significant in identifying players and their positions. And while every number has its own unique history and legacy, one number in particular stands out when it comes to legendary players – number 17. In this article, we will dive deep into the significance of number 17 in soccer and explore some of the most notable players to wear it.
The Significance of Number 17 in Soccer
While the significance of number 17 may differ across different cultures and superstitions, it has undoubtedly been a number that many talented and successful soccer players have chosen to wear throughout their careers. Let’s take a closer look at the history and some of the superstitions associated with this number.
The History of Number 17
The history of the number 17 in soccer is somewhat unclear. While some speculate that it may be related to the total number of teams that originally formed the Football League, others believe that it has roots in numerology and that the number 17 is associated with good luck and spiritual fulfillment in many cultures.
However, one thing is for sure – many legendary soccer players have donned the number 17 jersey throughout history. For instance, Dutch soccer star Ruud Gullit wore the number 17 jersey during his time at AC Milan, where he won three Serie A titles and two European Cups. Similarly, former Manchester United midfielder Nani wore the number 17 jersey during his time at the club, where he won four Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy.
Superstitions and Beliefs Surrounding Number 17
In Italy, for example, the number 17 is considered unlucky and carries negative connotations. In fact, it is so stigmatized that many Italian hotels, hospitals, and even some apartments skip the number 17 altogether, just like the number 13 in many Western countries.
On the other hand, in Brazil, the number 17 is associated with the Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that is often accompanied by music and dance. Moreover, this number is also believed to represent the union between two people or things, making it suitable for a center-back, whose job is to maintain a strong defense and protect his teammates.
Interestingly, the number 17 has also been associated with some bizarre superstitions in the soccer world. For instance, some soccer players believe that wearing the number 17 jersey will bring them good luck, while others avoid it at all costs, believing that it will bring them bad luck.
Moreover, some soccer clubs have even gone to great lengths to avoid the number 17. For example, in 2002, Italian soccer club Lazio signed Uruguayan striker Marcelo Salas, who had worn the number 17 jersey throughout his career. However, upon joining Lazio, Salas was forced to switch to number 11, as the number 17 was considered unlucky by the club’s management and fans.
In conclusion, the significance of number 17 in soccer may vary depending on the culture and superstitions of the people involved. However, one thing is clear – it has been a number that has been worn by many successful soccer players throughout history, and its mystique and allure continue to fascinate soccer fans around the world.
Legendary Number 17s in European Soccer
European soccer has seen its fair share of legendary players, and number 17 has been a popular choice among many of them. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most notable players to wear this number:
David Beckham: England’s Iconic Number 17
David Beckham is undoubtedly one of the most iconic soccer players of all time. Throughout his career, Beckham wore several different numbers, but he is probably most well-known for the number 17. It was during his time at Manchester United that he picked up the number 17 shirt and went on to make it his own. Under the number 17, Beckham established himself as one of the best players in the world, and his free-kick abilities earned him a reputation as one of the most feared dead-ball specialists in the game.
Beckham’s success on the field was matched by his global popularity off the field. The Englishman became a household name and a fashion icon, known for his stylish haircuts and designer clothing. In 2003, he was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services to football.
Alexis Sanchez: Chilean Star at Arsenal and Barcelona
Alexis Sanchez is one of the most electrifying players to emerge from South America in recent years. The Chilean forward has enjoyed stints with Arsenal, Barcelona, and Manchester United, among others, but it was in the number 17 shirt that he really made a name for himself. At Arsenal, Sanchez was known for his pace, dribbling skills, and eye for goal, and his performances in the number 17 shirt earned him plaudits from fans and pundits alike.
His philanthropic efforts off the field matched Sanchez’s success on the field. In 2017, he launched the Alexis Sanchez Foundation, which aims to help underprivileged children in Chile and around the world. The foundation has funded several projects, including the construction of a school in Tocopilla, Sanchez’s hometown.
Nani: The Portuguese Sensation
Nani is another player who has worn number 17 with great success. The Portuguese winger, who currently plays for Orlando City in Major League Soccer (MLS), has enjoyed stints with Manchester United, Sporting CP, and Valencia. At Manchester United, Nani was an integral part of the team that won the Premier League title in 2011, and he did so while wearing the number 17 shirt.
His international success matched Nani’s success on the field with Portugal. He was a member of the Portuguese team that won the European Championship in 2016, and he scored a crucial goal in the quarterfinals against Poland.
Marek Hamsik: Slovakia’s Talented Midfielder
Marek Hamsik is one of Slovakia’s most talented soccer players. The midfielder, who currently plays for IFK Göteborg in Sweden, spent most of his career at Napoli. While at the Italian club, Hamsik wore the number 17 shirt, and he quickly established himself as a fan favorite. Hamsik’s box-to-box play style and eye for goal made him one of the best midfielders in Serie A during his time at Napoli.
His loyalty to Napoli matched Hamsik’s success on the field. He spent 12 seasons at the club, becoming their all-time leading goalscorer and helping them win two Coppa Italia titles. In 2019, he left Napoli to join Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.
Number 17s in South American Soccer
South American soccer has produced some of the most exciting and talented players in recent memory, and number 17 has been a popular choice among many of them. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most notable number 17s in South American soccer:
Javier Mascherano: Argentina’s Defensive Rock
Javier Mascherano is one of Argentina’s most decorated soccer players. The defensive midfielder, who has played for the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, wore the number 17 shirt for Argentina during the 2010 World Cup. Mascherano’s no-nonsense defending approach and ability to read the game made him an invaluable asset for the Argentine national team.
Off the field, Mascherano is known for his philanthropic work. He established the Masche Home Foundation in 2006, which provides shelter and support for underprivileged children in his hometown of San Lorenzo.
Nene: Brazil’s Skillful Attacker
Nene is a Brazilian soccer player who has enjoyed a successful career in both Brazil and Europe. The attacking midfielder, who currently plays for Fluminense in Brazil, wore the number 17 shirt during his stint with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Nene’s ability to create chances and score goals made him one of PSG’s most important players while he wore the number 17 shirt.
Off the field, Nene is known for his love of music. He is an accomplished guitarist and has even released an album in Brazil. In addition, he is a dedicated family man and often shares photos of his wife and children on social media.
Gary Medel: Chile’s Versatile Warrior
Gary Medel is a Chilean soccer player who has played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Inter Milan and Sevilla. Medel’s versatility and tenacity have made him a fan favorite wherever he has played, and his performances in the number 17 shirt for Chile have been no exception. Medel’s ability to play in defense or midfield has made him an invaluable asset for the Chilean national team over the years.
Off the field, Medel is known for his love of animals. He has several pets, including a dog and a parrot, and often shares photos of them on social media. In addition, he is a passionate advocate for animal rights and has worked with several organizations to promote animal welfare.
These are just a few of the many talented players who have worn the number 17 shirt in South American soccer. Whether they are defenders, midfielders, or attackers, these players have all left their mark on the game and continue to inspire the next generation of soccer stars.
North American and Asian Number 17s
While number 17 may not be quite as popular in North America and Asia as it is in Europe and South America, some notable players still have worn the number with distinction. Let’s take a closer look:
Jozy Altidore: The United States’ Powerful Forward
Jozy Altidore is an American soccer player who currently plays for Toronto FC in Major League Soccer (MLS). Altidore has also represented the United States national team numerous times and has enjoyed success while wearing the number 17 shirt. Altidore’s physicality and finishing ability have made him one of the best forwards in MLS over the years, and his performances for the United States have earned him a reputation as one of the country’s most dangerous attacking players.
Makoto Hasebe: Japan’s Tireless Midfielder
Makoto Hasebe is a Japanese soccer player who currently plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany. Hasebe has represented Japan on over 100 occasions and has worn the number 17 shirt for his country for many of those games. Hasebe’s tireless work rate and ability to read the game have made him one of the best midfielders in Asia, and his performances for Japan have been crucial to the team’s success over the years.
As we have seen, the number 17 holds a special significance for many soccer players, and it has been worn by some of the best players in the history of the sport. Whether it’s because of superstition, numerology, or a personal preference, there is no denying that the number 17 has played an important role in soccer. And while there may be many great players who have worn it before, it’s safe to say that there will be many more in the future who will do it justice.