Welcome back to another edition of our latest miniseries documenting some of the best players to have worn some of the less iconic jersey numbers in soccer.
Like many of the numbers we have already discussed, the number 16 jersey is usually occupied by a player that doesn’t regularly start for the first team of a club.
The jersey is often worn by a reserve player and doesn’t really have any set position in terms of which players in a squad can have it on their back.
Table: 16 Jersey Number In Football
|7.||Denis Irwin: Manchester United’s reliable #3.|
|Irish international with 19 trophies.|
|6.||Ashley Cole: England’s top left-back.|
|Arsenal and Chelsea star with 107 caps.|
|5.||Roberto Carlos: Unique Brazilian left-back.|
|Famous for bending free-kicks.|
|4.||Thiago Silva: Brazilian leader and defender.|
|Won trophies in Serie A, Ligue 1, and UCL.|
|3.||Pepe: Fierce Portugal and Real Madrid defender.|
|133 caps, several titles including Euro 2016.|
|2.||Gerard Pique: Decorated Barcelona and Spain CB.|
|World Cup, European Championship, multiple UCL.|
|1.||Paolo Maldini: AC Milan and Italy legend.|
|7 Serie A titles and 5 Champions League wins.|
Here are seven famous soccer players that have worn the number 16 jersey.
1. Mike Maignan
First up today is French goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who currently wears the number 16 jersey for Italian champions AC Milan.
Maignan is a player who has shot up the ranks in recent seasons, becoming the replacement that Milan needed when their former first-choice man between the sticks Gianluigi Donnarumma departed for Paris – Saint Germain (PSG).
It is pretty rare for a first-choice goalkeeper to wear a number other than one in many countries, though in Italy jersey numbers are often viewed as less of an important factor of signing a player than in England for example.
In terms of Maignan’s playing career, he began life at PSG where he featured for the clubs reserve side before an eventual move to Lille. Maignan stayed in the north of France for a long time, playing for both Lille’s reserve side and eventually first team between 2015 and 2021.
Following this AC Milan came calling, and the Frenchman couldn’t turn down a move to the San Siro.
Maignan made an instant impact in Milan, taking home the goalkeeper of the year award in Serie A as well as being a vital part of the Rossoneri’s title-winning campaign.
2. Edouard Mendy
The next number 16 on our list is Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, a player who was once considered one of the top goalkeepers in the world following his influential performances in his team’s Champions League winning campaign in 2020-21.
Nowadays, Mendy is in and out of the Chelsea starting eleven as he vies for his place with Spaniard Kepa.
Born in France, Mendy actually represents Senegal at the international level with him featuring for the African nation throughout their triumphant African Cup of Nations and World Cup campaigns in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Mendy was awarded the goalkeeper of the tournament award at AFCON.
His club career has already taken him to plenty of teams including Cherbourg, Marseille, Reims, Rennes, and finally Chelsea.
At Stamford Bridge, they have a long list of top goalkeepers to have featured for them over the years, and Mendy looked set to be in the debate to be the best the club has ever had after he was named the best goalkeeper in the world by FIFA in 2021.
As already touched upon, a string of costly mistakes at the beginning of the 2022-23 season cost Mendy his place in the Chelsea team for a while (this wasn’t helped by the apparent resurgence of backup ‘keeper Kepa).
All players go through shaky spells though, and I thoroughly envisage Mendy getting back to the top soon.
3. Rob Holding
A player that has been the subject of many jests over the course of his career, Rob Holding has had a pretty incredible rise to the Premier League, and while he may not be one of the first names on the team sheet for Arsenal these days, he has established himself as a solid defender at the highest level.
Holding started his career in the Football League, playing for a struggling Bolton Wanderers for two years as he honed his skills. He also had a very brief loan spell with the now-defunct Bury.
When Arsenal moved in for Holding in 2016, it was viewed as one the most bizarre transfers of recent times, but the Gunners clearly had plans for the young defender.
Given his age and small price tag, not much was expected of Holding by Arsenal fans; however, after being forced into his Premier League debut by injuries to key players, Holding broke through into the first-team squad at the Emirates Stadium.
Since then, Holding has made a further 87 appearances for Arsenal and has won two trophies with the club.
The fourth number 16 on our list is one of the finest holding midfielders in the world right now. Spain international Rodri currently plays his soccer for Premier League club Manchester City and has already made himself an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s team.
Rodri began his career rising through the youth ranks at his local club Rayo Majadahonda before being scouted by Atletico Madrid in 2007, spending most of his formative years with the Madrid-based club.
After being released due to a supposed lack of strength in 2013, Rodri moved to Villareal where he would turn professional just two years later.
After a successful spell with Villareal where he played over 60 games, Rodri was brought back to Atletico Madrid in 2018 and another strong season in La Liga earned him his big move to Manchester City a year later.
With City, Rodri has improved tenfold and has become an excellent passer of the ball that can also break up opposition attacks and get his own team moving up the field.
Partnering players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan in the Citizens’ midfield has clearly improved Rodri’s overall game as he aims to help the club to their first Champions League title.
5. Alvaro Odriozola
From one Spaniard to another, the next player we’re discussing today is Real Madrid’s resident number 16 Alvaro Odriozola.
As a young player, Odriozola was regarded as one of the brightest talents in the Spanish youth setup. A pacy full back that wasn’t afraid to get up the field and attack, Odriozola seemed destined to make it to the very top.
The Spaniard spent the entirety of his fledgling career with Real Sociedad who he would eventually sign his first professional contract in 2013, playing for the clubs’ reserve team for four seasons after this in order to learn the game.
Odriozola would finally break into the first team in 2017 and only spent one season with his boyhood club before transferring to Real Madrid in 2018.
It wasn’t the easiest of moves in the end for the young right back as he struggled to make an impact at the Bernabeu, leading to him being loaned out to Bayern Munich in 2020 (this was not a good move either as Odriozola only played three times for the German side).
Having only appeared 31 times over the course of his Real Madrid career it would seem that his time at the club is waning. A recent loan move to Fiorentina only exacerbates this.
6. Abdoulaye Doucoure
The penultimate number 16 wearer on our list is a Mali international that plays for the Merseyside-based club Everton in the Premier League.
Abdoulaye Doucoure has long been considered one of the strongest holding midfielders in England having played in the country since 2016.
Like many talented young African players, Doucoure began his career in France playing for Rennes (the same club he played for as a youth).
Initially playing for the Rennes B side, it took three years for Doucoure to break into the first team. Once he did, he remained loyal to the club that trained him for four more seasons before his move to (then) Premier League side Watford.
As a club Watford is renowned for their seemingly ‘yo-yo’ like nature in terms of promotion and relegation from the Premier League, Doucoure was brought in to help steady the ship, though, in reality, they needed far more than this.
In four seasons for Watford (barring a brief loan spell with Granada) Doucoure appeared over 120 times before moving to Everton in 2020.
It hasn’t been plain sailing with Everton either though, as the club is going through a rocky patch on the field that could lead to relegation to the Championship in the near future.
7. Joachim Andersen
The final player on our list is Crystal Palace’ number 16 Joachim Andersen, who is quickly becoming one of the most reliable central defenders in the Premier League.
Honing his craft with a series of youth teams back home in Denmark, it took time for Andersen to establish himself at any club. It was with Dutch side Twente that he turned professional, playing for both the reserves and first team throughout his spell in Enschede.
Eventually, Serie A side Sampdoria saw the ball-playing potential of Andersen, signing him up in 2017.
The Dane stayed in Italy for two seasons before moving to Ligue 1 side Lyon in 2019, it was with the once-great French club that he was scouted by a number of Premier League sides wanting his signature following a loan spell with Fulham in 2020-21.
Despite the west London club being keen to bring Andersen in permanently, the call of the Premier League was too strong to resist as the defender signed for Crystal Palace at the start of the 2021-22 campaign.
Palace has since become a real underdog side that is performing well under Patrick Viera; Andersen is one of the key men in this team.
Well, now you know seven soccer players who wear the number 16! Will you be keeping a closer eye on their careers from now on?