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Football Facts: Who Wears Number 13?

Posted by Christopher Smith on

In our time fixing up teamwear kits for 100s of clubs from all over the world, we've definitely had quite a few requests to leave the number 13 out when printing the player shirts.

Footballers can be a superstitious bunch and we can understand why someone wouldn't fancy the world's unluckiest number on their back throughout a game.

The dictionary definition of someone with an aversion to the number 13 is *deep breath* triskaidekaphobia, which sounds a bit like a team name from Sega Mega Drive classic Sensible Soccer.

Anyway, this got us thinking - which professional footballers turned out in 13 and were a success?

1. Michael Ballack (retired)

Ballack was undoubedtly one of the biggest players in the game when he was at his career peak. Known for his thundering strikes, he starred for Leverkusen, Bayern & Chelsea - as well as the German national team of course.

Ballack turned out for all of those teams in the number 13 and it certainly didn't do his career any harm.

2. Aleksandar Kolarov (Man City)

Although he now wears #11 for City, when he first joined the marauding left back donned the infamous #13 shirt and it didn't phase him one bit.

He's a firm-favourite at the Etihad stadium these days, largely in part to his phenomenal shooting power, set-piece ability and his high work rate.

3. Alessandro Nesta (retired)

Nesta is a defender that almost needs no introduction - he's a legend at AC Milan and a legend of the Italian national side.

While playing the part of an immovable object in defence at the San Siro, he more than happily wore the number 13 shirt and became one of the world's greatest defenders.

4. Rafinha (Bayern Munich)

Rafinha is a marauding, reliable Brazilian right back who is a regular starter for Bayern Munich. He played for Schalke 04 & Genoa before Bayern snapped him, paying around £4m for his services.

Rafinha is the squad's current number 13 & it hasn't affected his performances as Bayern are romping away with the Bundesliga title once again.

5. Adil Rami (AC Milan)

Not only does Milan's French centre back not let the number 13 phase him, but he doesn't let the fact he inherited the number from one of the club's greatest ever defenders (Nesta) bother him either.

Signed from Valencia on loan in January 2014, Rami has been almost ever-present for Milan in an effort to sure up their leaky defence. He signed in the summer of 2014 and scored his first goal for Milan against Cesena.

So you see, there's really no need to fear the number 13. Some top players both current & past have turned out in the dreaded shirt number.

That said, if you still don't fancy having a 13 in your squad, we're happy to leave it out when we print your team kits at Football Nation.


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