The number 8 shirt is not given the attention that the number 7, 9 or 10 shirts get. But that does not mean that the number 8s are any less important than the rest. In the modern-day game, the number 8 is worn by attacking midfielders whose job is to make space in congested areas and both create and score goals.
Playing in midfield, these players are usually excellent dribbles of the ball, wriggling out of tight spaces with their tidy footwork and then releasing the attackers with well-weighted through balls or going for glory from distance.
Some of the greatest players of the game have donned the number 8 shirt. Let's take a look at 8 of the greatest number 8s of all time.
#8 Gennaro Gattuso
The toughest of them all. Gennaro Gattuso had no reservations about getting in the opponents face and at times, his rage would flow over into his interactions with the ref as well. But don't let the aggression take anything away from his game, Gattuso was an excellent player for both Italy and AC Milan.
Andrea Pirlo evolved into one of the greatest mifielders of his generation thanks to the work that Gattuso was putting behind him. 'Rino' protected his defence with vigor and his fiery performances were always a treat to watch.
Gattuso made up for his lack of flashy skills with his work rate and passion for the game. He won 2 Scudettos, 1 Champions League and a World Cup in his career and will go down as one of the best defensive midfielders of our times.
#7 Juninho Pernambucano
Arguably the greatest free-kick taker of all time, Juninho was an excellent playmaker and went on to become one of Olympique Lyon's all time greats providing numerous assists and scoring over a 100 goals in his career.
It was Juninho's arrival that galvanized the Lyon side who had never been crowned before domestically. Juninho would then lead his club to 7 consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He won the Ligue 1 player of the year once and was named in the Ligue 1 team of the year on 3 occasions.
To confine Juninho to a great free-kick taker would be reductive. Juninho could create chances in attack with his exquisite passing which is the reason why he has racked up a truckload of assists. He also had great vision and great footballing intelligence and could score worldies from distance.