Best Number 7 Football Players in History

Sun 03 April 2022 | 7:30

Great football players will be remembered by their goals, magical moments, honors, and of course their shirt number. This is an article about the best players ever that wore one of the most popular numbers: number 7.

The number seven is the world’s most favorite number according to numerous surveys. Many people consider number 7 as their lucky number. While we can’t prove nor deny that if number 7 will bring you more luck than the other numbers, but we can guess why people see it as a unique number. The number 7 has a strong connection with many myths, folklore, and religious beliefs. For instance, Christians believe that God created the world in seven days, or there are seven great wonders in the world, or calendar weeks are consisted of seven days, and the list goes on.

We know that the luck has an undeniable role when it comes to football so there is no surprise why football players chose their “lucky number” to print on the back of their shirts. That’s why the number 7 became one of the most popular shirt numbers in football history. Traditionally, the number 10 is dedicated to the best player of the team but there are some of the greatest football players ever that preferred the number 7. Now if you want to meet the best number 7 football players in history, then you have come to the right place.

Who Are the Famous Number 7 Football Players?

The introduction of numbered shirts in football is often associated with Herbert Chapman, one of the greatest English managers who coached Arsenal from 1925 to 1934. Since then, some numbers were restricted to particular positions on the football pitch. That’s why the goalkeepers are always the number 1, defenders often use number 2-6, midfielders chose the number 8 and 10 and strikers wear the number 9. Number 7 though is commonly used by wingers. That’s why many of the best number 7 football players in history and even current number 7 football players are prolific wingers who can score goals as well as providing assists for the main strikers. All things considered; these are our picks for the best and most

famous number 7 football players

in history of the sport sorted by their playing era date:

  • Mané Garrincha

  • George Best

  • Kevin Keegan

  • Bruno Conti

  • Eric Cantona

  • Luís Figo

  • Andriy Shevchenko

  • David Beckham

  • Raúl González

  • Franck Ribéry

  • Cristiano Ronaldo

Mané Garrincha

It’s impossible to create a shortlist of the best football players in a certain category and don’t include at least one Brazilian in it. Manuel Francisco dos Santos who is also known as Garrincha (meaning little bird in Portuguese) was one of the first players that mesmerized the football fans around the world while wearing the number 7 shirt. Garrincha made a name for himself in


where he joined in 1953 as a 20-year-old right winger and stayed at the club for the next 12 years. During this time, he became a key part of Brazil’s successful national team and helped them to win two back-to-back World Cup trophies in 1958 and 1962.

As a matter of fact, Brazil never lost a match while both Garrincha and Pele were among the starting elven. Due to his 1.69 m height and his fast legs, Garrincha was an incredible dribbler who could create a goal scoring chance out of nothing. He is renowned as the best dribbler that the football has ever seen and it’s hard to argue against that. Garrincha played 50 games for Brazil from 1955 to 1966 and due to his majestic style of play, he turned to a national hero for Brazilians and they nicknamed him Alegria do Povo which means People’s Joy in Portuguese. 

George Best

The number 7 shirt has a reach history behind it in Manchester United’s history – as we will get to it below, and it all started with

George Best

. The Northern Irish was born in 1946 and just when he was a teenager, Manchester United scouts recognized his talents and brought him to England. At the age of 17, George Best made his debut for the club. Even from the early days, Man. United fans felt that there is something special with George Best and it turned out that they were not wrong. George Best became one of the most important players in a prosperous Manchester United that won two league titles, two Charity Shields, and the club’s first European Cup in 1968.

During the 1968 European Cup final against Benfica which ended 4-1, Best scored his side’s second goal which gave them the lead in the extra time. In the same year he won the Ballon d’Or award and wrote his name in history as one of the best wingers ever and today, George Best is also regarded as the first superstar in the history of football due to his charming personality off the pitch. Although he changed his number a few times during his 11-year career at Man. United, but his number 7 shirt remained the most favorite one for the fans and that’s why he is one of the

best number 7 football players in history

Kevin Keegan

The next player on the best number 7 football players in history list, is another British attacker named Kevin Keegan. Unlike other famous number 7 football players, Keegan was not a natural winger as his best position was playing at the center of attacking line as a Centre-Forward. He started his football career at

Scunthorpe United

and after having his breakthrough with the club, Liverpool signed him in 1971 when Keegan was 20. On his debut season, Kevin Keegan earned his place as a regular starter and had 18 goal contributions in 35 games.

He kept up his good form for the coming years and became one of the most prolific players in Bill Shankly’s Liverpool throughout 1970s with having 95 goals and 59 assists to his name in 303 appearances for the club. He was also the number 7 player in England’s national team and scored 21 international goals for the Three Lions. As one of the most decorated English players ever, Kevin Keegan has won 9 trophies with Liverpool including three First Division titles and a European Cup and two Ballon d’Or awards to boot.

Bruno Conti

Italian football is best known for its efficient defensive tactics and smart Italian defenders. But as one of the greatest nations in football history, Italy has also produced some of the finest attackers in football and Bruno Conti is one of the outstanding ones. Conti was born and raised in Rome and joined the city’s famous football club as a teenager. Due to his short height, he had a hard job trying to convince Roma’s first team manager that he is capable of playing at the highest level. Therefore, after two loan spells at Genoa, he returned to Roma in 1979 and showed that he deserves to be a part of

the golden generation of Roma

throughout 1980s.

As you would guess. Bruno Conti was also a winger who had the ability to play at the both flanks of the attacking line. Just like Garrincha, Bruno Conti also took advantage of his short height and became one of the best dribblers in his generation. During the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Conti had 27 years old and he was considered as one of the most dangerous players in Italy’s lineup. Thanks to his brilliant performance in that tournament, Italy won the World Cup for the third time. On club level, Bruno Conti wore Roma’s number 7 shirt up until the end of his career and said his farewell in 1991 after representing the club in more than 400 matches. 

Eric Cantona

Without a doubt, Eric Cantona is one of the most charismatic football players ever and it is safe to say he is one of the main reasons why the number 7 became even more popular both for football fans and players. Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona was born in 1966 in France and made his professional debut with


at the age of 17. Cantona’s main position was playing as a second striker and sometimes as an attacking midfilder. Due to his athleticism and leadership skills, he became one of the most popular players of his generation. In 1991, Eric left France to join Leeds United in English football.

Two seasons later, he was bought by the rivals Manchester United and immediately emerged as one of the leaders in Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. During his five years at Manchester United, Eric Cantona bagged 81 goals and provided 62 assists in 181 games and helped the club to win 4 Premier League titles. In 1997 Eric Cantona announced that he made his decision to hang up his boots at the age of 31 which is quite early for a football player at his caliber. Nevertheless, he cemented his place as one of the most iconic football players that graced the pitch and that’s more than enough to consider him one of the best number 7 football players in history.

Luís Figo

Even before Cristiano Ronaldo – who is arguably the

best number 7 in football 2022

, there was another Portuguese superstar who wore the number 7 shirt both on club and international level. Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo simply known as Luís Figo was born in 1972 and 13 years later, he joined the Sporting youth academy to develop his skills as a teenager. In 1989 Figo got promoted to the first team and started his senior career as a right winger who also had the ability to play at the attacking midfilder position. His decent six-year tenure at Sporting was followed by a big transfer to Barcelona in 1995.

Barcelona won 7 trophies in 5 years with

Luís Figo

being a crucial player in the club’s squad including two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. As one of the best number 7 football players in history, Luís Figo also won the Ballon d’Or award in 2000 and just when he was turning to a club legend at Barcelona, he decided to join the archrivals Real Madrid in the same year which went down in history as one of the most controversial transfers. Figo wasn’t bothered by the heat around him and proved his worth at his new club by helping them to win the 2002 Champions League trophy. After setting the record for most assists in La Liga history, Figo left Real Madrid for Inter in 2005 where he collected another 7 gold medals before retiring in 2009.

Andriy Shevchenko

As mentioned earlier in this article, strikers are tended to wear the number 9 shirt. But one of the best strikers in European football, is also one of the

best number 7 football players in history

. The Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko was a product of Dynamo Kyiv youth academy during his teenage years. In 1993 Shevchenko made his debut for Dynamo Kyiv senior team. The pinnacle of his career at Dynamo was scoring a hat trick against Barcelona at Camp Nou during a UEFA Champions League match in the 1997-98 season. A year later Shevchenko moved abroad to join AC Milan where he chose the number 7.

On his debut season, Shevchenko took the league by becoming the league’s top scorer with 24 goals. Andriy was a modern type of striker who was quite agile and fast compared to classic strikers who were dependent on their physical strength. After playing a crucial role in Milan’s championships on domestic and European level, Andriy Shevchenko won the 2004 Ballon d’Or award ahead of Deco, Ronaldinho, and Henry. At the end of his second spell with Milan in 2009, Shevchenko had scored 175 goals for the Rossoneri which turned him the second all-time top scorer in the club’s history. He is also


’s all-time top scorer with 48 goals in 111 games. 

David Beckham

George Best was the first football player that became a superstar, but David Beckham is the greatest superstar amongst football players even after his retirmenet! Just like the other names on this list, David Beckham also had to change his shirt number on several occasions. But his favorite number during his days at Manchester united and England national team was the number 7. Beckham was a part of the famous Class 92 of Manchester United. Compared to the other best number 7 football players in history, Beckham had a deeper role on the pitch as he was a right midfilder.

His career at Manchester United concluded with him winning 13 trophies with the club from 1992 to 2003, including the historic treble during the 1998-99 season. Then he moved to Real Madrid as a part of the Galacticos project where he had to change his number to 23 but he was still England’s number 7 on the international tournaments. After spending four years in Spain, Beckham moved to USA to play for

LA Galaxy

. Later he had some short spells with Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. Beckham’s most important asset was his extraordinary accuracy on long range passes and shots. He scored some of the most iconic goals in the history of the game and that’s why he is a familiar face even for the people who don’t watch football that much.

Raúl González

Real Madrid has always been the club that gathered around the finest football players on the planet. One of these players, was

Raúl González Blanco

as known as Raúl who was homegrown talent in Real Madrid’s squad. After climbing up the ladder one step at a time, finally Raúl got his chance to play for the club’s first team in 1994. During his early seasons at Real Madrid, Raúl used to wear the number 16, 14, and 17 shirts until the 1995-96 season where he chose the number 7 shirt and didn’t change it to the last day of his career.

Raúl’s best position on the pitch was behind the main striker but he could also lead the attacking line as a sole striker. His capability to play with his both legs and his incredible skills in reading the game, made him an unstoppable attacker for the opposition’s defense. With 741 games throughout 16 years, Raúl Gonzalez is the most capped player in Real Madrid’s history. He also is the second top scorer of both Real Madrid and Spain national team with 323 and 44 goals respectively. But his legacy in football goes even beyond those stats not only he is one of the best number 7 football players in history but also, he is one of the most popular football legends ever. 

Franck Ribéry

As a 38-year-old winger who plays for Salernitana at the bottom of Serie A table, Franck Ribéry might not be one of the best

current number 7 football players

; but not long ago, dealing with the Frenchman was a nightmare for every defender across Europe. Ribéry started his professional career in 2000 at his hometown club


in France. Since then, he changed his club almost at every season and finally got settled in Bayern Munich. Franck was 24 years old when he moved to Bayern Munich in 2007 and with submitting 11 goals and 8 assists in 28 Bundesliga games, he showed that he is not going to leave the German football anytime soon.

Year after year Franck Ribéry evolved at Bayern Munich and became one of the best players in the club’s history that wore the number 7. Two years after Ribéry’s arrival, the Dutch winger Arjen Robben also joined Bayern Munich and together they formed the famous Robbery due on the left and right flanks of attacking line. During 12 years at the club, Franck Ribéry lifted 23 cups with Bayern Munich including the Champions League trophy in 2013. He is now approaching the final chapter of his career but football fans will never forget his golden days at Bayern Munich when he could tear down every defensive line.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Arguably one of the greatest players of all time also chose the number 7 since the beginning of his legendary career. Cristiano Ronaldo was a Sporting prospect in his youth career and made his way to the club’s first team in 2002. At his debut season on senior level, Ronaldo was given the number 28 shirt but on the next summer when he joined Manchester United, the Portuguese winger chose the number 7 and became one of the

best number 7 football players in history

. During 292 in Ferguson’s Manchester United, Ronaldo scored 118 goals and assisted 68 ones.

After winning 9 titles with Man. United, Ronaldo followed the footsteps of David Beckham and joined Real Madrid in 2009. During his first season at Real Madrid, Ronaldo had to wear the number 9 shirt since Raúl was still playing as the club’s captain. With Raúl’s departure in 2010, Ronaldo found the chance to wear the club’s number 7 and the rest as they say is history. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has set so many insane records and even now at the age of 37, he is the best number 7 in football 2022 playing at the highest level for Manchester United.

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source: SportMob

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