It seems Paulo Dybala is already making his mark at Roma having pinched the No.21 shirt off fellow new recruit Nemanja Matic.
The Argentine ace finally decided upon his next destination having departed Juventus on a free transfer at the end of last season following months of fractious contract negotiations. Despite interest from Manchester United and Arsenal among others, the 28-year-old has joined forces with Jose Mourinho at Roma and he's already set about stamping his authority in the eternal city. The forward dubbed 'The Jewel' has swiftly claimed the club's No.21 shirt – taking it from ex-United midfielder Matic, who himself was only handed the jersey upon joining a matter of weeks ago.
But the Serbian isn't the first to have fallen victim to this kind of thing. Daily Star Sport take a closer look at seven other famous footballers who have seen their shirt numbers snatched away from them by assertive new arrivals.
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Can you think of any other players who were forced to change their shirt numbers to accommodate a new arrival? Let us know in the comments section below
Cristiano Ronaldo shocked the footballing world back in the summer of 2018 when the five-time Ballon d'Or winner announced he would be departing Real Madrid after nine trophy-laden years in order to embark on a new challenge with Juventus. But would the Portuguese superstar who had built a CR7 brand be able to retain his shirt number? Of course he would.
Thanks to Ronaldo's powers of persuasion, Juventus No.7 Juan Cuadrado willing gave up the shirt for the famed forward, considering it "pleasure" according to the striker himself. Ronaldo told DAZN: "Of course, it's my favourite number,.
"I spoke with the club in the beginning and I spoke with Cuadrado because he was number seven. He said, 'For me, it's not a problem. It will be a pleasure for me to give you my number seven, my shirt'. I am surprised, in a good way because the club helped me and Cuadrado accepted very well. I am really glad to continue with my number seven."
What Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants, he almost always gets. And upon signing for United back in 2016, the surly Swede only had eyes for the club's No.9 shirt. Granting Zlatan his wish, the Red Devils promptly handed him the number, while giving previous occupant Anthony Martial the No.11 instead.
The French forward didn't appear to take too kindly to the decision, however. Martial responded with a string of cryptic posts of Facebook. The striker swiftly launched his ‘AM9’ brand on the social media site, which prominently featured the No.9 within a neatly designed logo.
On top of that, the France international elected to change his cove photo to one of him celebrating his last-gasp winner against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final back in 2016. Again the No.9 was the main object of focus. How awkward.
Just one year on from upsetting the applecart by pinching Martial's shirt number, Ibrahimovic was given a taste of his own medicine. After United shelled out £75m to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton, the Belgian striker plead with Zlatan to let him have the No.9 shirt previously poached from Martial.
"Lukaku called me and said: 'Bro, can I get the No. 9 shirt?'" Ibrahimovic told ESPN FC. "I said: 'I'm not on that level that I will make it difficult for you, I just want you to feel happy and feel welcome, so I give you the No. 9 but I will take the No. 10.' That's the way we do it."
Ibrahimovic did indeed claim the No.10 shirt vacated by United legend Wayne Rooney and insisted he had no issue with conceding the number he'd worn for the majority of the career. In fact, in classic Zlatan style, he put a smug spin on the turn of events. He added: "So I never left, I just upgraded my number."
Is if Edinson Cavani hadn't already established himself as a fan favourite at Old Trafford after joining United back in 2020, he certainly was after handing the No.7 shirt back over to Ronaldo following his sensational homecoming last summer. The Uruguayan was said to have been praised by the masses for his charitable act and few were as complimentary as former United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
"Cristiano has been ringing Edinson and they speak with each other," the Norwegian manager revealed back in September. "To pass up his shirt shows the respect he's got for Cristiano. But also Cristiano speaking to Edinson shows respect the other way. Two top professionals, players, and human beings."
Ronaldo himself added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Edi for this incredible gesture.”
After paying out a then-world-record £190m to Barcelona for Neymar back in the summer of 2017, it was pretty clear Paris Saint-Germain were keen to make Neymar their poster boy. It therefore came as little surprise that he was given the club's marketable No.10 shirt.
Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore previously wore the jersey, but insisted he was more than happy to vacate the shirt as a 'symbolic gift'. He said: "I knew that Neymar's arrival was important for the club. I also knew that he really likes the number 10.
"He spoke to be beforehand about all of this. It was no big deal for me to give him the No.10. I'm just as happy taking back my old number 27. Last season I only played about 15 games wearing the number 10. It's a change – let's hope it makes us better."
Whether or not the playmaker was really quite so willing to hand the shirt over remains to be seen.
As if Lucas Perez spell at Arsenal wasn't disastrous enough, the Gunners rubbed salt into the struggling striker's wounds by stripping him of the No.9 shirt – something he only became aware of after checking the club's website.
The Spaniard saw his number handed over to Alexandre Lacazette without his consent, much to his disgust. The forward, who cost Arsenal £17m from Deportivo La Coruna the season before then sought out Arsenal’s chief negotiator Dick Law to express his enragement.
Lucas, who was left out of Arsenal's 2017 pre-season tour squad as the Gunners looked to offload him, was understood to have told Law that he felt "cheated" and that seeing the No.9 shirt handed to Lacazette was “an ugly gesture” and “the final straw”. Not cool, Arsenal. Not cool.
Unlike some of the others on this list, Roberto Firmino was only too happy to oblige in swapping shirt numbers after Liverpool completed the £36.5m signing of Mohamed Salah from Roma in 2017. The Brazilian gave up his No.11 to the Egyptian and instead took on the No.9, but only after the club politely asked.
"I appreciate what Firmino did [changing squad numbers]," a grateful Salah declared. "The club asked him and I have to thank him very much."
If you don't ask, you don't get, as they say. But let's be honest, the Liverpool No.9 isn't a bad consolation prize, is it?
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