Retired shirt numbers: Moore, Maldini & best footballers to receive honour from clubs

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Retiring an iconic player's shirt number is quite common practice Italy, but not so much Spain – and Goal has rounded up the most memorable instances

  1. Getty

    Bobby Moore | West Ham | #8

    The West Ham legend had his number at the London side retired, having captained the club for 10 years. Moore was also captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup and is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all-time.
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    AC Milan | Paolo Maldini | #3

    Technically, the shirt isn't retired. AC Milan made the decision to retire the number following the Italy legend's final game, but Maldini has allowed for his sons to inherit the number three should either of them play for the club.
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    Emiliano Sala | Nantes | #9

    The Argentine had his shirt number at Ligue 1 side Nantes retired after he died tragically in a plane crash in January 2019.
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    Diego Maradona | Napoli | #10

    The Argentina icon is one of the greatest footballers to have ever graced the pitch, and had a glittering seven-year career at Napoli where he won numerous titles and awards.
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    Pele | New York Cosmos | #10

    The Brazil great had his #10 shirt at New York Cosmos retired on October 1, 1977 at half-time. Though he was past his prime at this point, Pele was credited with increasing public interest of football in the United States.
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    Henrik Larsson | Helsingborg | #17

    One of the greatest Swedish players of all-time, Larsson is considered a legend at Helsingborg and also for his national team, representing his country in three World Cups and three European Championships.
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    Johan Cruyff | Ajax | #14

    A Dutch legend who is heralded for his 'Total Football' playing philosophy was honoured by Ajax, the club at which he first made his name. Has won the Ballon d'Or on three separate occasions and was to have his shirt retired at Barcelona as well, but was denied the honour as he wore multiple numbers.
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    Marco Rossi | Genoa | #7

    Genoa legend Rossi played most of his 18-year professional career with the Italian side, appearing in nearly 300 official games during nine seasons.
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    Javier Zanetti | Inter | #4

    The Italian is the most capped player in the history of Inter (858 appearances), and lifted 16 trophies with the club: five Serie A, four Coppa Italia, four Supercoppa Italiana, one UEFA Cup, one Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.
  10. BBC

    Noel Bailie | Linfield | #11

    Bailie is a retired semi-professional footballer and had his number retired at Linfield in 2011 to commemorate his world record of 1,013 senior appearances for the club.
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    Carl Ikeme | Wolves | #1

    Ikeme made 191 senior appearances for Wolves between 2003 and 2018 and was loaned to various other sides. In July 2017, Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukaemia and a year later, after being in complete remission, he retired. 
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    Diego Maradona | Argentina | #10

    Argentina had tried to retire Maradona's shirt, but had their request rejected by FIFA when they submitted a squad of 23 players for the 2002 World Cup and listed 1 through 24 – with number 10 omitted.

    The number 10 has since been worn by other players, most notably by Lionel Messi whom Maradona calls his 'successor'.

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    Cheick Tiote | Beijing Enterprises | #24

    While at Beijing Enterprises, ​the former Ivory Coast international died in June 2017 in a training session, at the age of 30.
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    George Weah | Liberia | #14

    Following a 2018 friendly against Nigeria, George Weah retired Liberia's number 14 shirt after 61 senior caps and 22 goals.
  15. Popperfoto

    Nilton Santos | Botafogo | #6

    Botafogo played around with the idea of retiring Brazil legend Santos' number six shirt, but a decision to honour him wasn't made to do so until the first game following his death. 

    The club hasn't retired his number, but they have since stitched a special emblem – Santos' signature – above the crest on the current number six shirt.

  16. Bethlehem Vengthlang

    Peter Biaksangzuala | Bethlehem Vengthlang | #21

    The midfielder died in hospital in 2014 after injuring himself celebrating a goal for the Indian side and, in memoriam, the club retired the number 21 shirt.
  17. Evoke IE

    Mark Farren | Derry City | #18

    The number was retired to honour to the Northern Ireland club's all-time record goal-scorer after he died of cancer.
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    Franco Baresi | AC Milan | #6

    One of the greatest defenders of all-time, the AC Milan legend (and one-club man) won three UEFA Champions League titles, six Serie A titles, four Supercoppa Italiana titles, two European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups across 20 years.
  19. PROSHOTS

    Theo Bos | Vitesse Arnhem | #4

    The former Dutch footballer played from Vitesse Arnhem from 1983 to 1998, where he appeared in 429 matches – a club record.

  20. Orlando Pirates

    Lesley Manyathela | Orlando Pirates | #22

    After Manyathela passed away in a car accident in 2003, the South African side retired his shirt.