The number 12 jersey in football hardly carries any big significance as it is usually reserved for the second-choice goalkeepers and squad players who usually play substitute roles.
In the past, the number 12 jersey was on the backs of the likes of Thierry Henry in the French national team, John Mikel Obi for Chelsea, and Marcelo at Real Madrid.
There are some young talents in world football who are wearing the number currently, and here they are as we profile them.
Here are some of the popular football players who wear number 12 jersey.
1. William Saliba (Arsenal)
At 21, William Saliba is ruling the Premier League defense with outstanding performances. The French defender has played 14 matches for the Gunners this season and even had time to score twice and make an assist.
This has helped Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table and also helped him individually to the French World Cup National Team.
Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint Etienne, went on loan back to the French club, and also had times at Nice and Marseille on loans.
He was given the number 12 jersey at Arsenal after Hector Bellerín left the club.
His impact at the heart of Arsenal’s defense been immense, and he is one of the top soccer players who wear number 12 jersey for their club.
2. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea)
Loftus Cheek has been ever present for the Chelsea team this season, both in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
The 26-year-old has managed to feature fourteen times in the Premier League and five times in the UEFA Champions League.
He played at the last World Cup, but his appearance in Qatar was not possible as he was not part of Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Nonetheless, Loftus-Cheek is an underrated footballer who can play a number of positions, making him one of the best footballers who wear the number 12 jersey.
3. Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United)
Dutch youngster Tyrell Malacia commanded a move to Manchester United from Feyenoord and has played nine Premier League matches and five in the UEFA Europa League.
Tyrell Malacia inherited the number 12 jersey from Chris Smalling at Manchester United.
The 23-year-old is in the Oranjes team at the World Cup in Qatar after some confident displays for the Red Devils under Erik Ten Hag.
4. Emerson Royal (Spurs)
Emerson’s move to Spurs was shocking as the Brazilian defender only arrived at Camp Nou in 2019 and went on loan to Betis, where he played 67 times before he was shipped to Tottenham last year.
The 23-year-old made only three appearances for the Camp Nou side before moving to England. However, he’s been a consistent face for Antonio Conte in North London this season.
The Brazilian is arguably one of the best right-backs in the world, despite his inconsistent form.
5. Simon Mignolet (Belgium)
Belgian goalkeeper Mignolet is just one of the two goalkeepers on this list who wears the number twelve jersey.
Although Simon Mignolet wore number 22 at Liverpool and currently at Club Brugge, he wears the number 12 jersey for the Belgian national team.
He’s a Premier League veteran, having played for Sunderland and Liverpool between 2010 and 2019. However, the 34-year-old has returned to the Belgian Pro League.
6. Alex Sandro (Juventus)
Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro has been in Europe since 2011, having joined FC Porto from Deportivo Maldonado.
He left the Portuguese giants In 2015 and joined Juventus, where he has played over 200 games since then.
He’s also enjoyed some of their big moment of dominance in Italy and their recent drop in form.
Alex Sandro is one of the best left-backs in the world, and is one of the key players in the Brazilian national team.
7. Raoul Bellanova (Inter Milan)
Raoul Bellanova is an Italian right-back who plays for Inter Milan. The 22-year-old started from Bordeaux, going on loan to Atalanta, Pescara, and Cagliari before moving to Inter.
The Italy U21 is yet to make the senior national team, but this season, he’s only made nine matches.
8. Jamal Lewis (Newcastle)
Jamal Lewis is a 24-year-old left-back that plays for Newcastle united after featuring for Norwich City for four years.
The Northern Irish international has not had a good season this term and has been on the periphery of the Newcastle United team that is having a dream start to the season.
9. Enock Mwepu (Brighton Hove Albion)
Zambian player Enock Mwepu was forced to retire from football on October 10 2022, after he was diagnosed with a rare hereditary heart problem.
Mwepu is just 24, but he is Brighton’s record acquisition after he joined from Red Bull Salzburg. He also had 23 appearances for the Zambian national team.
Similarly, he was part of the Zambian under-20 national team that shone at the FIFA under-20 World Cup in South Korea in 2017.
10. Rafa Mir (Sevilla)
Rafa Mir at 25, is still yet to play for the Spanish national team despite being a regular for Sevilla.
The striker has been traveling almost all through his career has he moved from Valencia in 2018 to join Wolves in the Premier League.
At Wolves, he spent loan times at Las Palmas, Nottingham Forest, and Huesca. He joined Sevilla in 2021 and has played over forty games scoring 12 times.
Nine of those games and two goals have come in La Liga this season.