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10 best number 7s of all time

Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
ANALYST
Modified 04 Oct 2020, 16:53 IST
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The number 7 jersey in football is usually worn by wingers and second strikers but it has also been graced by some of the most famous central strikers to have played the game.

Traditionally, the number 7 has been synonymous with players who love to dribble and run in behind opposition defences to whip crosses to forward colleagues in the penalty area. However, just like the game, the role of the number 7 has also evolved with time.

10 best number 7s in football history

Nevertheless, the most skilful player in a team is often bestowed the honour of wearing the number 7 jersey. Some of the most legendary players in the sport, both active and retired, have donned this jersey for teams over the years.

On that note, let us have a look at ten of the best players in the sport, in no particular order, who have become synonymous with the iconic number 7 jersey.

#10 Raul

Raul
Raul

Real Madrid's Raul Gonzalez, more commonly known only by his first name, is one of the most famous number 7s not only in the club's illustrious history but in the game itself.

Raul, who came through the Madrid ranks, inherited the famed Real Madrid number 7 jersey from the outgoing Emilio Butragueno in 1995 at the age of 17 and never looked back.

During a richly successful decade-and-a-half-long stint at the Bernabeu, Raul scored goals galore, 323 of them to be exact, as Real Madrid's latest number 7 became the club's all-time top-scorer before being usurped by his successor Cristiano Ronaldo (more about him later).

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The Spain international was at his prolific best in the 2000-01 season as his 32 goals in all competitions helped Real Madrid win La Liga and reach the Champions League semi-finals. Raul left for Schalke in 2010 after winning six league trophies and three Champions League titles.

The player later returned to Madrid in a managerial capacity and delivered the club's first UEFA Youth League title.


#9 Franck Ribery

Franck Ribery
Franck Ribery
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Franck Ribery arrived at Bayern Munich in the summer of 2007 and inherited the club's number 7 jersey from the retiring Mehmet Scholl.

Not everyone was convinced by his arrival in Bavaria but Ribery managed to endear himself to the Bayern faithful by scoring in his second Bundesliga game, and there would be no looking back from there.

Ribery had big boots to fill but made a good start to life in Germany. He scored 11 goals and assisted eight others as Bayern won the league and Cup double, in the process becoming only the second-ever foreigner to win Germany's Player of the Year award. However, the Frenchman was only just getting started.

A year later, Ribery was joined by Arjen Robben, and the duo - nicknamed Robbery - would wreak havoc down the flanks, with Ribery on the left and Robben on the right. The two wingers propelled Bayern to arguably their most dominating spells in Germany and abroad.

During his 12-season stint in Bavaria, Ribery was plagued by injuries but nevertheless scored 124 goals and assisted 182 more as he surpassed Hasan Salihamidzic to become the club's most-capped foreign player.

Ribery ended his Bayern stint with 23 titles - a record nine of them being Bundesliga triumphs - to etch his name into Bayern's record books before joining Fiorentina at the start of last season.

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#8 Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan
Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan is one of the most decorated players in the history of Liverpool.

During his six-season stint at Anfield from 1971 to 1977, Keegan wore the iconic number 7 jersey in all but one season (1974-75).

Due to his prowess up front, the player was transitioned from a right-midfielder to a central striker by legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. The move yielded rich dividends as Keegan conjured 90 goals and 56 assists in all competitions, with the English giants lifting three league titles, as many titles in Europe and one in the FA Cup.


#7 David Beckham

David Beckham
David Beckham
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David Beckham, renowned for his crossing ability from the right wing and especially for his dead-ball prowess, was one of the most iconic number 7s in the history of the game.

Beckham first inherited the number at the young age of 21 while at Manchester United after the shirt's previous occupier, Eric Cantona, left the club.

The Englishman, who did not wear the number 7 during his four years at Real Madrid, scored 127 goals and assisted 202 others during a successful club career for six different teams.

Beckham scored 65 free-kicks during his nearly two-decade career for club and country, a tally that includes 29 for Manchester United and 14 for Real Madrid.

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Published 04 Oct 2020, 08:21 IST
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