A football player is almost instantly recognizable by the jersey number that he wears. Various shirt numbers can speak to the ability, skill, and influence of a particular player. Number 10s are respected for their ball wizardry, number 9s for their goal scoring prowess, and numbers 7s & 11s for their pace and wing play.

The number 23 is not the usual number for most footballers looking to stand out. However, over the years, a few greats have worn that particular number and gone on to excel.

Here are 5 popular players that have worn the number 23 jersey.

1. Sol Campbell

The former England international donned the number 23 jersey during his time with English Premier League side Arsenal FC and Portsmouth FC. The Gunners legend was part of an “invincibles” side that went the whole of the 2003/2004 EPL season unbeaten as they won their 13th league title. Sol would go on to win another league title as well as 2 FA Cup titles. Campbell would also go on to win another FA Cup trophy with Portsmouth during the 2007/2008 season.

2. Jamie Carragher

Famous footballers to wear number 23

The Liverpool FC legend spent his entire career at Anfield wearing the number 23 for most of his time there. The uncompromising defender played for the Reds for 17 seasons between 1996-2013, where he amassed numerous winners’ medals. This includes FA Cups (2000-01, 2005-06), League Cups (2000-01, 2002-03, 2011-12), UEFA Cup (2000-01), and UEFA Champions League (2004-05) trophy. He retired from football in 2013.

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3. Marco Materazzi

Materazzi is a former Italian international football player. He wore the number 23 jersey for both club and country. While at Italian Serie A side Inter Milan, the defender won numerous Scudetto and Coppa Italia titles as well as the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2010. Marco was also part of the Italy squad that won the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was involved in the World Cup finals against France and will be most remembered for his role in the controversial sending off of then French Captain Zinedine Zidane.

4. Marc-Vivien Foe

Famous footballers to wear number 23 jersey

The late great Cameroonian defensive midfielder wore the number 23 shirt during his loan spell with EPL side Manchester City. Marc played just one season with the Cityzens, scoring 9 times in 35 appearances. After he sadly passed away in 2003, aged 28, his club, Manchester City, decided to retire his club jersey number in his honor.

5. David Beckham

Famous footballers to wear number 23

The former English national team captain also wore the number 23 jersey during his spell at Spanish giants Real Madrid. Beckham chose the number when he joined the “Galacticos” in honor of legendary basketball player Michael Jordan who wore the number 23 during his time with American basketball side Chicago Bulls. Beckham played 4 seasons with Los Blancos winning the La Liga title once in the 2006-07 season.

Notable Mentions:

  • Daniel Sturridge – Chelsea
  • Seamus Coleman – Everton
  • Jonny Evans – Manchester United
  • Emre Can – Liverpool
  • Luke Shaw – Manchester United
  • Carlo Cudicini – Chelsea
  • Robbie Fowler – Liverpool
  • Andrey Arshavin – Arsenal


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