Last week, in the wake of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s transfer to Arsenal, we ran a piece on players who, like the Armenian will, have worn different numbers in European competitions compared to domestically. We missed out two notable examples, both from the same club.
As mentioned in that article, UEFA first allowed squad numbers in 1996-97, with the stipulation that 25-man squads were numbered from 1-25, with 26 and 27 free for mid-season signings and 28 upwards for B-list, younger, players.
Due to the Football Squads site only listing Ligue 1 numbers from 1998-99 onwards, we weren’t aware that they had been introduced in France in 96-97 as well. Henry was assigned 12 for Monaco – the number which he would wear throughout his international career for France, as well as in his second spell with Arsenal (the poor picture quality is a mix of a lack of footage and Monaco having black numbers).
As a 19-year-old though, he was eligible for the B-list for the UEFA Cup, in which Monaco reached the semi-finals. In that competition, he had 28 on his back.
Bruno Clement, a reserve player who does not appear to have had a number in the league, was 12 for Europe. David Trezeguet, who wore 22 as he played five times in Monaco’s 96-97 title win, didn’t appear in the UEFA Cup but was assigned the number 29. An odd change was that of Lilian Martin, who was 17 domestically and 19 in Europe.
Fast-forward 17 years and the transfer of Dimitar Berbatov to Monaco from Fulham in January 2014. With options limited, he wore number 15 for the remainder of that campaign.
The Bulgarian switched numbers that summer. He had worn 9 at Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester United and Fulham, but with Radamel Falcao wearing that for Monaco, he had to be content with 10, freed up by the departure of James Rodriguez.
However, on transfer-deadline day, Manchester United completed a deal to take Falcao on a season-long loan. With the Champions League squad not yet registered, Berbatov was able to wear his favoured digit as they reached the quarter-finals of that competition. The number 10 was not re-assigned.