Ask any football fan across the globe about the shirt numbers they associate with goalkeepers, and you’ll mostly hear the numbers ‘1’ and ’13’ in response immediately.
However, not all shot stoppers throughout football’s long history have opted for such digits, and some have gone as far as to pick some absolutely bizarre choices to wear on the back of their jerseys.
Here’s eight former goalkeeping stars who decided against selecting a traditional number in favour of something more unique…
8. Ubaldo Fillol (Argentina)
A 58-times capped Argentina international with three World Cup tournaments under his belt, ex-River Plate star Fillol decided to choose a figure more in keeping with what a centre-back would be assigned.
The 1978 winner of that tournament’s ‘Best Goalkeeper’ award – opted for the number ‘five’ jersey, and it must have brought some good luck as his national side won their first ever World Cup.
7. Emiliano Viviano (Italy)
Just look at that moustache and sideburns combo. Only someone of Italian descent could pull those off!
Anyway, former Brescia and current Sampdoria keeper Viviano was the recipient of the number ‘two’ jersey upon his request for it. With many shot stoppers in Italy choosing all manner of unusual shirt numbers, this one isn’t really that out of place although the number is usually reserved for a team’s key right back.
6. Luca Bucci (Italy)
With a career spanning 23 years, ex-Torino star Bucci had the chance to pick any manner of shirt number to adorn his top and shorts.
The three-times capped Italy international went as far as to choose the number ‘seven’, which most fans would associate with a flying winger or forward in their side, during his first season with Parma before changing once again to number ‘five’ between 2006 and 2008 with the Serie A side.
5. Cristiano Lupatelli (Italy)
Is anyone else starting to sense a theme here? We did say that Italian goalies were ones to watch out for where strange numbers are concerned.
Anyway, Lupatelli chose to adorn his shirt with the number ’10’ during his brief two-year stint with Chievo before changing to the number ‘three’ during a 12-month period with Roma – his second spell with I Giallorossi that failed to glean any first-team appearances that time around.
4. Joe Wildsmith (England)
An individual closer to home now with Sheffield Wednesday reserve keeper Wildsmith, who has taken a leaf out of Viviano’s book and taken up the number ‘two’ jersey at the club.
It’s not often that a custodian on these shores opts for anything other than ‘1’ or ’13’ if they’re available, so this particular example is a bolt out of the blue for sure!
3. Jorge Campos (Mexico)
He may have a fairly straightforward shirt number in the image above, but there was a time when legendary Mexico keeper Campos had digits that were more in keeping with strikers.
Yep, that’s right, the 130-times capped international used to wear the number ‘nine’ shirt for quite a decent reason in all fairness.
Campos, who was not first choice at former club UNAM in 1986, decided to switch roles and become a finisher at the club for the 1986/87 campaign. After his manager agreed to his request, Campos went on to net 14 times that season and opted to keep the number the following term as a reminded of his feat!
2. Bulent Ataman (Turkey)
We know, you’re all glancing around at one another shouting “Who?!”
Ataman isn’t a keeper who will be well known to many, given that he didn’t play for any big clubs out of Turkey – though he did play for Besiktas and Trabzonspor.
And, much like Lupatelli earlier, Ataman was renowned in his homeland for wearing the number ’10’ on his shirt and shorts.
1. Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)
The only other player on our list who is still playing today, 32-year-old Ochoa is showing no signs of packing in his playing career just yet.
The Mexico star has just completed a switch from La Liga side Malaga to Belgian outfit Standard Liege, and decided that a fresh start in a new country should see him pick a new shirt number.
He opted for ‘8’. Why? We’ll never know…