10 Best Number 6 In Football History

The number 6 jersey is usually linked with defensive prowess, and outstanding players who have worn the iconic No. 6 jersey include legendary figures, Franco Baresi, Roberto Carlos, and Bobby Moore.

These players made a lasting Impression In the game with their exceptional skills, making their presence memorable in football history.

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Best Number 6 In Football History

  • Bobby Moore
  • Franco Baresi
  • Tony Adams
  • Nilton Santos
  • Jaap Stam
  • Ronald De Boer
  • Matthias Sammer
  • Joseph Masopust
  • Xavi
  • Aldair

1. Bobby Moore (West Ham United)

BOBBY MOORE

Bobby Moore is one of the best number 6 In football history. He’s a legendary figure from West Ham United and made his name as a colossal defender and an iconic captain.

Leading West Ham for over a decade, Moore’s impact on the game extends beyond the pitch. His crowning achievement was in 1966 when he captained England to a historic World Cup triumph.

Moore was hailed by Pelé as the greatest defender he faced, his prowess was rooted in his astute reading of the game rather than brute force.

With more than 600 appearances for West Ham, he secured FA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup victories. However, his jersey, the number 6, was retired by West Ham in 2008, fifteen years after his passing.

Moore’s influence wasn’t confined to club success; he earned 108 caps for England which was a record at the time. He was the winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1966, including an OBE.

If you check the Wembley Stadium you will see a bronze statue immortalizes him, embodying the enduring impact of a player celebrated for his footballing intellect and leadership.

2. Franco Baresi (AC Milan)

FRANCO BARESI

Franco Baresi had an Incredible career. Having dedicated his entire 20-year career to AC Milan, leaving memorable moments as one of the best number 6s in history.

Starting in Milan’s youth ranks, Baresi’s Serie A debut at just 17 was the beginning of his illustrious journey. Overcoming initial rejection by Inter Milan, he became an anchor for AC Milan.

Baresi won the Serie A title in 1978–79, only to face relegation in the early ’80s due to match-fixing scandals. Undeterred, he led Milan back to Serie A, becoming the team’s captain at a young age.

Alongside defensive players like Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta, and others, Baresi formed a legendary backline. The late ’80s ushered in a golden era for Milan, with Baresi at the helm.

Under Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, the team dominated, clinching Serie A titles and consecutive European Cups in 1988–89 and 1989–90.

However, one of the best of Baresi’s moments came in the 1990 European Cup Final, orchestrating a 1–0 victory over Benfica.

Milan continued their dominance, undefeated Serie A titles, Supercoppa Italiana triumphs, and a third UEFA Champions League title in 1993–94.

In all, Baresi retired as Milan’s all-time top scorer in the Coppa Italia for the 1989–90 season. In an ultimate tribute, Milan retired Baresi’s iconic number 6 shirt.

3. Tony Adams (Arsenal FC)

TONY ADAMS

Tony Adams was magnificent during his two-decade career with Arsenal football club. Joining as a schoolboy in 1980, Adams quickly rose through the ranks, making his first-team debut at just 17.

He was the backbone of the famous back four alongside Dixon, Winterburn, and Bould. Adams became Arsenal’s captain at 21, leading for an astonishing 14 years.

His disciplined defense was key in Arsenal’s successes, securing league titles and the League Cup and FA Cup double in 1992-93. However, Adams battled personal demons, facing alcoholism that impacted his life off the pitch.

Despite legal troubles and a stint in prison, he bravely conquered his addiction, later chronicled in his acclaimed autobiography, “Addicted.” The arrival of Arsène Wenger in 1996 was a turning point, with Adams captaining Arsenal to two Premiership and FA Cup Doubles.

His 674 appearances for Arsenal made him a club legend, earning him the nickname “Mr. Arsenal.” After he retired in 2002, Adams applied for a managerial role at Brentford, but his focus shifted towards a successful post-playing career. Recognizing his immense impact, Arsenal inducted Adams into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

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4. Nilton Santos (Botafogo)

NILTON SANTOS

Nilton Santos is one of the best football players to ever wear the number 6 jersey In football history. He’s one of the best defenders to grace the beautiful game.

Known for his attacking prowess as a left-back, Santos was a trailblazer in making runs down the wing, contributing to the offensive game, something that set him apart.

He’s lauded as “The Encyclopedia” for his profound knowledge of football and also earned global acclaim for his world-class defending and attacking abilities. In 2009, the football community honored Santos with the Golden Foot Legends Award to cement his legacy as an icon in the game.

5. Jaap Stam (Manchester United)

JAAP STAM

Jaap Stam was a formidable force during his three-season stint with Manchester United where he established himself as one of the best number 6 In football history.

United’s trophy cabinet flourished under his tenure, boasting three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.

Stam’s defensive skills were highlighted in a memorable 6–2 victory against Leicester City, where he notched his only goal for the club. However, controversy loomed early in the 2001–02 season when Stam was unexpectedly sold to Lazio in Italy.

The move arose from alleged revelations in Stam’s autobiography, “Head to Head,” about the club and manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The book contained outspoken opinions on opposing players, leading to a reported falling out with Ferguson.

Surprisingly, Ferguson later revealed that the decision to sell Stam was an error, acknowledging the defender’s continued quality on the pitch. Despite the controversy, the financial aspect played a role, with Lazio reportedly offering £16.5 million for the 29-year-old center-back.

Manchester United’s financial report listed a fee of £15.3 million, while Lazio asserted it was £16 million. Regardless of the figures, the sale remains a key moment in Stam’s career and a topic of reflection for Ferguson.

6. Ronald De Boer (Ajax Amsterdan, Barcelona)

RONALD DE BOER

Ronald De Boer is one of the most famous football players to wear the number 6 jersey In football history, establishing this fact during his stints at Ajax Amsterdam and Barcelona. At Ajax, his first spell from 1988 to 1991 saw him win the Eredivisie title under manager Leo Beenhakker.

Returning later under Louis van Gaal, De Boer enjoyed a golden period, securing three consecutive Eredivisie titles and triumphing in the 1995 UEFA Champions League, Intercontinental Cup, and UEFA Super Cup.

However, controversy marred his time at Ajax when a contract dispute arose with the club hierarchy. Despite a verbal agreement, the De Boer twins, Ronald and Frank, faced resistance in their pursuit of individual career paths.

The dispute reached a tipping point in 1999 when, following legal action, the brothers signed for Barcelona under former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal.

The £22 million deal became the end of their tumultuous Ajax career. The fallout not only impacted the De Boer twins but also contributed to managerial changes at Ajax, with Morten Olsen getting the sack.

7. Matthias Sammer (Borussia Dortmund)

MATTHIAS SAMMER

Matthias Sammer was outstanding for Borussia Dortmund during the 1990s, wearing the number 6 jersey. His journey with Dortmund began in the winter break of the 1992–93 season when he joined the squad.

Initially, he was a midfielder, but coach Ottmar Hitzfeld’s tactical switch transformed Sammer into a libero, a move that bore fruit as Dortmund won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 1994–95 and 1995–96.

The height of Sammer’s career came in the 1996–97 UEFA Champions League, where Dortmund triumphed over Juventus 3–1 in the final. However, the sweet taste of success was tempered by a cruel twist of fate.

Post-Champions League glory, Sammer faced a career-ending knee injury. His time on the pitch reduced to just three more Bundesliga appearances before hanging up his boots in 1998.

Individually, Sammer’s Impressed, won the titles of Footballer of the Year in Germany in 1995 and 1996, as well as the prestigious European Footballer of the Year in 1996. Notably, Sammer became the first defender since Franz Beckenbauer in 1976 to claim the Ballon d’Or.

8. Josef Masopust (Czechoslovakia)

JOSEF MASPOUST

Josef Masopust is one of the best number 6 In football history. Masopust began his international career in 1954 against Hungary. Despite a setback in the 1958 FIFA World Cup play-off against Northern Ireland, he triumphed in the 1955-60 Central European International Cup.

In 1960, Czechoslovakia won third place in the UEFA European Football Championship, with Masopust leading the charge. Josef guided his team to the FIFA World Cup Final against Brazil.

Though he scored the opening goal, Brazil ultimately secured a 3–1 victory. Masopust’s great World Cup performance earned him the prestigious title of European Footballer of the Year in 1962.

Despite Czechoslovakia missing the 1966 World Cup, Masopust’s legacy endured with 63 international caps and ten goals. His final international appearance in 1966 was the end of a remarkable career.

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9. Xavi (Barcelona FC)

XAVI

Xavi’s career from youth teams to first-team football showed his immense talent. He established himself as a vital cog in Barcelona’s team In his breakthrough season in 1998-99.

Xavi weathered the storm during Barcelona’s financial struggles from 2001 to 2008. His adaptability and defensive prowess saw him contribute with Important goals, including a memorable strike in El Clásico against Real Madrid.

He was named as the vice-captain in 2004-05, playing an important part in securing La Liga and Supercopa de España. I think the football world saw the best of Xavi from the 2008 to 2012 season, as he became the orchestrator of Barcelona’s tiki-taka style under coach Pep Guardiola.

He was also a crucial part of the treble-winning team in 2009, and his on-field intelligence earned him awards like UEFA Champions League Best Midfielder.

His passing mastery and vision contributed to numerous goals. However, in 2015, after 767 appearances, Xavi bid farewell to Barcelona in a Champions League triumph, leaving as a club legend.

10. Aldair (AS Roma)

ALDAIR

Aldair loyalty to the Giallorossi was determined, despite the club not securing major international honors during 13 seasons. His contributions were key in Roma’s Serie A triumph in 2001, along with a Supercoppa Italiana and a Coppa Italia in 1991.

Even in the absence of international honor, Aldair earned FIFA XI recognition in 2000. Aldair’s legacy at Roma is monumental, and he’s one of the best number 6 In Serie A history.

As the most-capped foreign player in the club’s history, his number 6 jersey was retired when he bid farewell in 2003. However, in a unique turn of events in 2013, the jersey was reissued to Kevin Strootman with Aldair’s blessing. He is known as “Pluto” to the Roma fans, and in 2012, he was exalted in the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame.

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