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optical illusions

These 11 iconic players wearing their wrong shirt numbers will hurt your eyes

Where would football be without numbers? The iconic number 10s, goalscoring number 9s, nippy number 7s and, of course, Bixente Lizarazu’s number 69.

But even the best didn’t start at the top. You’ve got to earn your stripes. Prepare your eyes for these optical illusions…

David Beckham

A number ten? We’re not having that, and neither was Becks, who switched to number seven as soon as Eric Cantona left.

David-Beckham

12

Steven Gerrard

One plus seven equals eight, the number he eventually made iconic at Liverpool.

Steven-Gerrard

12

Paul Scholes

Ashley Young refused to budge on Scholes’ number 18 shirt when the midfielder returned.

Paul-Scholes

Ronaldo

R18 doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?

Ronaldo

12

Rivaldo

While we’re on the subject of mercurial Brazilians, it doesn’t seem right seeing Rivaldo out of a number ten shirt.

Rivaldo

12

Cristiano Ronaldo

There was the small matter of Raul to take care of before CR7 got his hands on the Real Madrid number seven shirt.

Cristiano-Ronaldo3

12

Andres Iniesta

Ahh, he’s probably not that good. Just give him the number 24.

Andres-Iniesta

12

Thierry Henry

Arsenal’s most iconic number 14? It’s only Theo bleeding Walcott.

Thierry-Henry

12

Sergio Busquets

Sergi Buckets took his first number from the amount of times he likes to roll after being tackled. Ooh sass.

Sergio-Busquets

12

Rio Ferdinand

Clearly the number six wasn’t doing it for him. Or maybe he just wanted to be like Ronny Johnsen.

Rio-Ferdinand

12

Lionel Messi

We’ve saved the best till last. Arguably the most iconic number ten in Barca’s history has already worked his way through two numbers.

Lionel-Messi1

12

Lionel-Messi2

12

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