In this 2022-2023 season, the Professional Football League (LFP) has allowed players to choose shirt numbers from 1 to 99. From Gianluigi Donnarumma to Alexis Sánchez, explanations of the strangest and most symbolic elections.
The limit of 30 is over. This season, the Professional Football League once again allows players to choose a jersey number from 1 to 99. This offers many more possibilities for players in the French championship. Several of them took the opportunity to find a favorite number or pay tribute to a department or a loved one.
99, a popular number
For his first year at PSG, Gianluigi Donnarumma had been forced to drop his favorite number, 99, in reference to his year of birth (1999). The Italian, therefore, did not hesitate to recover a number that he always wore during his time at AC Milan.
Donnarumma is not the only one who has chosen 99, although not everyone was born in 1999. Arriving in Montpellier this year, Wahbi Khazri changed 10 for 99, to the extent that Stephy Mavididi has already come historically linked to the playmaker.
Umut Bozok (Lorient), Mory Diaw (Clermont), Mario Lemina (Nice), Loïs Diony (Angers), Yllan Okou (Monaco), Rafik Guitane (Reims) or Chancel Mbemba (Marseille) will also play with 99 this season. Like Noah Fadiga in Brest, in tribute to his father Khalilou, a former Auxerre player who wore the same number during his career.
References to dates of birth or departments
During his first spell at OL, Alexandre Lacazette wore 17 and then 10 on the back of his shirt. Scorer from the penalty spot in his first game of the season, the captain of Les Gones now plays with 91. A simple reference to the year of his birth, especially since neither 9 (Moussa Dembélé) nor 10 ( Lucas Paquetá) are available. Just like the 90 of Alexandre Letellier, who stayed as a goalkeeper at PSG, or the 86 of Anthony Robic, a Bastia player.
Former captain of the club from the capital, Mamadou Sakho has not forgotten his origins, although he now plays for Montpellier. Thus, the defender appears with 75, in homage to Paris. Departments from Ile-de-France are also popular, such as Grejohn Kyei, from 95 and who chose this number in Clermont or Sada Thioub who will play with 92.
The story is also repeated for the other regions of France. Originally from 69, midfielder Sofyan Chader chose this number at Clermont. The same for the 29 of Mathias Autret in Auxerre, the one who was born in Morlaix. The 44 was favored by Chaker Alhadhur (Ajaccio), born and raised in Nantes.
Wearing the 22 in Reims, Hugo Ekitike did not have the opportunity to recover his number at PSG, owned by Abdou Diallo. “So he chose 44 because 2 x 22… but also because Ekitike is a palindrome and Hugo wanted a number that can be read in both directions,” explained the player’s entourage, to justify this 44.
Returning to OL this summer, Corentin Tolisso will also have to wait to take over number 8, which belongs to Houssem Aouar, pending departure. The 2018 world champion then waits with 88, to double his number. A small controversy arose on social networks due to the double meaning of 88, linked to a neo-Nazi symbol.
almost lucky numbers
Recruited by AS Monaco this summer, Swiss striker Breel Embolo discovers Ligue 1. Therefore, he had the opportunity to find 36. “This number has already brought me luck in Basel. It is with it that I became a professional. And then, when I was younger, I always took bus line 36 to come to train, justified the Nati international. Finally, 3 plus 6 is 9; and 9 is the classic number of a striker.”
His teammate Gelson Martins took charge of the 77, which he already exhibited at Sporting de Portugal. Arriving in Nice, Italian defender Viti took over the 42, which he wore last season at Empoli.
Arriving in Montpellier this season, Falaye Sacko likes 7. Consequently, he doubled the number to have 77. Also used to 7, Alexis Sánchez was surprised by Jonathan Clauss in the OM. It doesn’t matter, he inherited 70. “I chose 70 because of 7 and because when he was a child he also used 10. I liked these numbers, explained the Chilean. He is the 70 because he had the zero of the 10 and the 7, because he always plays with the 7.”
If he is not as well known as Sánchez, the Austrian Muhammed-Cham Saracevic intends to make a name for himself with 70. That my favorite number is 10. In the end I found that 70 was quite similar, ”explained the medium to the local press.
The beautiful stories…
Angers striker Marin Jakoliš wears the 44 as a tribute to basketball player Dražen Petrović, who died in a car accident at the age of 28. Jakoliš’s father had trained Petrović, who went through the NBA.
More cheerfully, in addition to his admiration for Robinho, Alexis Flips chose the 70s in tribute to his son, born on May 7. Same explanation for Moussa Sissoko, who wears the 17th in Nantes, in relation to the day of the birth of his son.
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