Home News Zinedine Zidane explains to Lionel Messi why he wore number 5 for Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane explains to Lionel Messi why he wore number 5 for Real Madrid

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Zinedine Zidane explains to Lionel Messi why he wore number 5 for Real Madrid

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Zinedine Zidane has explained why he chose to wear the number 5 shirt during his playing days at Real Madrid.

The legendary midfielder joined Real Madrid from Juventus in 2001 for a then-world record fee of €77.5m – a figure which would not be surpassed for another eight years when Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Los Blancos in quick succession.

During his five-year stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane won six major honours, including the 2002 Champions League in which he scored an iconic volley in the final against Bayer Leverkusen.

Widely heralded as one of football’s best ever attacking midfielders, Zidane decided to take on the number 5 shirt upon arrival at Real Madrid.

This strange curiosity was pointed out to Zidane during a sit-down with Lionel Messi as part of an adidas event at Inter Miami.

“It was weird to see another 10 wearing number 5. You made the 5 important,” Messi said.

Florentino Perez

Perez influenced Zidane’s decision / Borja B. Hojas/GettyImages

Zidane in turn explained that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wanted him to take a low shirt number, but the options available at the time were limited.

“A central midfielder with the 5, a bit strange no? But you know what happened with that, he [Perez] doesn’t like a player wearing 25 or 30 at all. 35… No, he was from a different era, from the old times when it was 1 to 11 and that was it,” Zidane replied.

“[Manolo] Sanchis had number 5 for Madrid, he left, and when I got there, the president told me ‘wouldn’t you like to have a number from 1 to 10?’ and we picked the number 5 because he didn’t want the 25, 30, 35, this is not football, it is American football, so in the end, I got number 5.

“He said to me ‘please’, and I thought, ‘it’s the first day, I’m going to say yes’. But in the end, the 5 for me, it’s a strong feeling, because it’s history for me, you know?”

Real Madrid summer signing Jude Bellingham credited Zidane as the reason he too opted to take the number 5 shirt when making the move to Spain.

“I’ve said in many interviews how much I admire Zinedine Zidane, the legacy he’s had at the club with this number – I’m just trying to be Jude, but it’s definitely a bit of a homage to how great he was,” Bellingham said at his unveiling in June.

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