The number 5 is one of the most important in the sport of soccer, it has often been worn by legends of the game that have excelled in both defensive and midfield positions.
The number is most commonly used to represent a central defender, with them often partnering with the number 4 player in the heart of a team’s defense.
While you may be familiar with some of the more historic players to have donned the number in the past, such as Fabio Cannavaro and Carles Puyol, you may well know less about some of the current crop of players that wear the number right now.
Today we will discuss a selection of these guys as we introduce you to 7 players wearing the number 5 jersey.
1. Harry Maguire – Manchester United
A player that has had a very ‘up and down’ kind of career, Manchester United center-back Harry Maguire is the first number 5 on our list.
The Yorkshire-born defender currently wears the jersey for his club and is undergoing a somewhat tumultuous time in Manchester after having impressed in the early stages of his time at Old Trafford.
It is no secret that many fans of the club want Maguire to be sold in order for them to sure up what has been a pretty leaky backline this season. A string of poor performances saw Maguire consigned to the substitutes bench prior to leaving for the World Cup with England.
Despite not wearing his trusty number 5 jersey for his country (he wears 6 instead), Maguire seemingly came back into something resembling his best form during England’s run to the Quarter-finals in Qatar.
If he can replicate these performances in the Premier League upon his return, then Manchester United fans may finally get behind their towering defender.
Confidence is an important thing when it comes to playing well, and hopefully, Maguire has taken inspiration from his top displays with England so that he can force himself back into Erik Ten Haag’s starting line-up.
2. Marquinhos – Paris – Saint Germain
Brazilian central defender Marquinhos has been at the core of the Paris – Saint Germain (PSG) team for many years now, tasting plenty of domestic success for the Parisian-based club.
Marquinhos wear the number 5 jersey for his team and has partnered with many great players over the years, including his national teammate Thiago Silva before he departed for Chelsea.
As a defender, Marquinhos is known for his excellent ability on the ball, making him the ideal partner for a player that prefers to take things a little more cautiously (a big man so to speak).
In this role, the Brazilian has become one of the best defenders in the world, especially when it comes to playing out from the back.
For Marquinhos and PSG, the dream firmly remains on winning the UEFA Champions League this season. The reliable Brazilian is the captain of his club side and would lift the iconic trophy were he and his teammates able to bring it to the French capital for the first time.
For his country, Marquinhos doesn’t wear the number 5 jersey and has recently tasted heartbreak after crashing out of the World Cup following a penalty shootout defeat to Croatia at the quarter-final stage.
3. Pierre Emile Hojbjerg – Tottenham Hotspur
The first midfielder to make it onto this list, Denmark International Pierre Emile Hojbjerg is the trusted holding midfielder for Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
Hojbjerg wears the number 5 jersey for ‘Spurs’ and is becoming one of the most reliable players in his role in the league.
Hojbjerg began his career in Denmark before making a move to German giants Bayern Munich, where he remained for a few years.
After finding himself bouncing between a variety of teams, Hojbjerg eventually settled in Southampton and became a mainstay in the team for the Saints until his move to north London in 2020.
At first glance, it doesn’t look as though the Dane has the attributes to be an excellent holding midfielder as he isn’t particularly fast or strong; however, on the ball, he has immense control and can spread a pass to anywhere on the field.
This ability has led to him registering plenty of key passes and a decent number of goals and assists in his two full seasons with Spurs.
Like many of the players on this list, Hojbjerg doesn’t wear 5 for his country. He has also had a challenging World Cup, failing to make it out of the group stages alongside his Danish teammates.
4. Jesus Vallejo – Real Madrid
A player that has spent much of his professional career out on loan around Europe, Spanish central defender Jesus Vallejo is finally beginning to make an impact at Real Madrid despite still being on the periphery of the team.
Born and raised in Zaragoza, Vallejo began his career with his hometown club Real Zaragoza, but only stayed there for a single season after putting in some top displays.
He subsequently moved to the Spanish capital before being loaned back to Zaragoza for a year to test whether his improvement schedule was on track.
The Spaniard clearly wasn’t deemed ready by the Real Madrid management and spent the next five years of his career on loan at smaller teams.
Vallejo has finally been given the chance to spend a season with his parent club after having a good season with Granada in La Liga last year, being handed the number 5 jersey as a reward for his time spent away from Madrid.
It hasn’t been the season that Vallejo will have hoped for so far though, with him only making one appearance for ‘Los Blancos’ as a substitute.
5. Benjamin Pavard – Bayern Munich
Next up is a French defender that is most well known for his wondergoal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Benjamin Pavard.
Playing primarily as a right back, Pavard also excels in a holding midfield role, making him the perfect choice for the number 5 jersey at Bayern Munich.
The Frenchman was being touted as the replacement for Bayern legend Philip Lahm long before his displays for France during their successful World Cup campaign in 2018; however, it is probably fair to say that he hasn’t quite reached that level in the years following France’s triumph.
Pavard’s playing time at the German club has been pretty consistent since he first made the move from Stuttgart in 2019. He currently has 13 appearances under his belt in the 2022-23 season, which was enough to see him selected for the France side for the Qatar World Cup.
Consistency may well be the keyword when it comes to Pavard, as he does not register many goals or assists, but he does offer a calm head that defends well and doesn’t kick up a fuss.
Pavard’s World Cup campaign hasn’t been as stellar as the last as he has fallen out of the starting line-up for Didier Deschamps’ attempt to defend the title.
6. Manuel Locatelli – Juventus
Still, one of the hottest prospects in Italian soccer, central midfielder Manual Locatelli currently wears number 5 for Juventus after having spent time with plenty of top clubs already.
At 24, Locatelli is coming into the prime years of his career and sadly had to sit out the World Cup due to his country failing to qualify for the competition.
The Italian first broke onto the scene with AC Milan, helping in the slow revival of the famous old club before his move to Sassuolo in 2019.
The project at Sassuolo was similar to that of Milan and Locatelli suited the intense style of play that the club wanted to drill into their players.
After two seasons with Sassuolo, Locatelli made the biggest move possible for Italian stars (albeit on loan for now).
At Juventus, Locatelli has made himself a key component of their attempts to rediscover themselves following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo two years ago.
The Italian is a silky operator that can pass like a dream, something manager Massimiliano Allegri spotted from a young age after having scouted Locatelli aged 15.
Once Locatelli’s loan spell with the Bianconeri expires, they are obliged to pay €25 Million for him.
7. John Stones – Manchester City
The final number 5 on our list is the defensive partner of Harry Maguire for England, and like his fellow Yorkshireman, John Stones only wears 5 for his club. He used to wear it for England too, but it’s now worn by Eric Dier.
Like Marquinhos, Stones is one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the world and has established himself as one of the key men in Pep Guardiola’s talented Manchester City side ahead of some other top players in his position.
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Stones though, as he faced plenty of criticism during his early days at the Etihad Stadium following his move from Everton.
Stones has proven all of his doubters wrong though and has been a part of many trophy-winning teams during his time in Manchester, also becoming one of the first names on the team sheet for his country in the process.
So there are seven players who wear the number 5 jersey, hopefully, you now feel like you know these players a little better and will recognize them when they pull the number 5 over their respective heads.