Why Did Zinedine Zidane Wear Number 5?

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When Zinedine Zidane arrived at Real Madrid in 2001 wearing the number 5 shirt, the football world was understandably a little confused. The number 5 is almost always worn by defenders, not attacking midfielders like Zizou. So why did the Frenchman opt for 5 instead of a more traditional number like 7 or 10?

Zidane chose to wear 5 at Real Madrid simply because it was one of the only numbers available at the time. Raul and Luis Figo already wore 7 and 10, respectively, while Santiago Solari had taken Zidane’s previous number at Juventus (21).

Steve McManaman (8), Fernando Morientes (9) and Savio (11) occupied the other attack-minded 1-11 shirt numbers when Zidane joined Real Madrid at the start of the 2001-02 season.

What numbers did Zinedine Zidane wear?

Zinedine Zidane wore five main shirt numbers during his club and international career: 5, 7, 10, 11 and 21.

The 1998 World Cup winner wore the number 10 throughout his time with the France national team. At club level, he wore 11 at Cannes before switching to 7 at Bordeaux. He went on to wear 21 for Juventus and 5 for Real Madrid.

Alessandro Del Piero wore 10 when Zidane joined Juventus in 1996, which is likely the reason why he settled for 21. More details on the football great’s shirt number history can be found at Transfermarkt.

Why did Jude Bellingham take number 5 at Real Madrid?

On June 15, 2023, Jude Bellingham joined Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Rudiger already occupied Bellingham’s preferred shirt number (22), so the Englishman decided to wear the number 5 to pay homage to Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid’s previous number 5, Jesus Vallejo, kindly allowed Bellingham to take over his shirt number.

“I want to thank Vallejo for giving me the number five,” Bellingham said at his first Madrid press conference. “I have said many times how much I admire Zidane and I am honoured by the legacy of this number that inspires me.”

Who else wore number 5 at Real Madrid?

Six players wore the number 5 shirt at Real Madrid between Zinedine Zidane and Jude Bellingham’s stints with the jersey: Fabio Cannavaro (06/07 – 08/09), Fernando Gago (09/10 – 10/11), Nuri Sahin (11/12), Fabio Coentrao (12/13 – 14/15), Raphael Varane (16/17 – 20/21), Jesus Vallejo (21/22 – 22/23).

Dating further back, Manolo Sanchis wore the number 5 for the majority of his career between 1983 and 2001. Fernando Hierro and Fernando Redondo are among the other notable names to have donned the number.

Before Zidane took the number 5 in 2001, the shirt did not have as much significance as it does now. The number 7, worn by legends including Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul, carries a lot more weight at the Santiago Bernabeu. For more details on Madrid’s entire shirt number history, check out the Transfermarkt database.