Best Number 8 Football Players of All Time

The number eight shirt is worn by box-to-box midfielders with a sharp eye for goal and here we learn about the top 10 best number 8 football players of all time.

The number 8 soccer shirt isn’t as well-known as the numbers 7 (wings or second strikers), 9 (centre striker), or 10 (goalkeeper) (playmaker). However, everybody who wears this shirt has a significant role to play in the game. These midfielders are eager to create scoring opportunities for the club. Other soccer players have worn the number 8 shirt in positions other than the midfield.

10. Marco Tardelli

Marco Tardelli (Credit: worldfootballindex.com)
Marco Tardelli (Credit: worldfootballindex.com)

During his tenure with Juventus, the former midfielder is one of the few players in history to have won every major European title as well as everything there is in Italy. In addition, Marco Tardelli led Italy to victory in the 1982 World Cup. Tardelli, one of the most decorated players in football history, began his career with Pisa in Serie C and subsequently moved to Como in Serie B before joining Juventus in 1975.

Before joining Internazionale in 1985, he spent most of his career with the Turin club, collecting several titles. Tardelli is largely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders in history. Tardelli was a versatile midfielder who could play in a variety of positions. He was a hard-tackling midfielder who was also technically skilled.

9. Juninho Pernambucano

Juninho Pernambucano (Credit: TransferMarket)
Juninho Pernambucano (Credit: TransferMarkt)

Juninho was a fantastic playmaker who went on to become one of Olympique Lyon’s all-time greats, giving countless assists and scoring over 100 goals throughout his career.

Juninho’s arrival rejuvenated the Lyon team, which had never won a domestic title previously. Juninho would go on to lead his team to seven straight Ligue 1 victories. He was chosen to the Ligue 1 team of the year three times and earned the player of the year award once.

8. Ian Wright

Ian Wright (Credit : Colorsport)

Ian Wright is a television personality and former soccer player. Following his playing career, he became heavily involved in soccer-related media. He is presently a BBC Sports and ITV commentator.

During his career, he played for Crystal Palace, Arsenal, West Ham, Celtic, Burnley, and Nottingham Forest. He was able to win the Premier League while at Arsenal.

His finishing ferocity, quickness, and agility have made him a household name. Wright is Arsenal’s second-highest goal scorer and Crystal Palace’s third.

Wright scored nine goals in 33 appearances for England at the international level.

7. Gennaro Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso (Credit: IMDB)
Gennaro Gattuso (Credit: IMDB)

On the field, the no-nonsense, uncompromising former AC Milan midfielder was an utter menace. His all-action, tough-tackling approach made him a fan favourite at San Siro. Gattuso was clearly identifiable by his number eight. In the mid-2000s, he was a vital player of the Rossoneri squad, which was very successful.

6. Hristo Stoichkov

Hristo Stoichkov (Credit: TansferMarket)

Hristo was a productive forward, earning him the nickname El Pistolero (The Gunslinger), but he was also a fiery player, earning him the moniker “The Dagger.” Hristo competed in the FIFA World Cup for Bulgaria in 1994. Despite his team’s fourth-place result, he was awarded the World Cup Golden Boot for scoring the most goals in the tournament and the World Cup Bronze Ball for being the tournament’s third-best player.

Hristo earned the European Golden Shoe in 1990 as the highest scorer in Europe while playing for CSKA Sofia. He became a member of the Barcelona club that won four straight La Liga titles after arriving later in 1990. He presently works as a football analyst for TUDN.

5. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard (Credit: PA Sport)
Steven Gerrard (Credit: PA Sport)

For many years, the ex-England star was the soul of his childhood club, Liverpool. While wearing his legendary number 8 shirt, the great Reds bestrode the Anfield turf. During his tenure at Liverpool, Gerrard was an inspirational captain who scored many key goals. Despite the fact that he did not win any league titles, he was able to lead his side to a UEFA Champions League victory in 2005.

4. Lothar Matthaus

Lothar Matthaus (Credit: Imago)
Lothar Matthaus (Credit: Imago)

Lothar Matthaus is regarded as one of the best midfielders of all time, having participated in five FIFA World Cups with Mexico’s Rafael Marquez. In 1990, Matthaus guided West Germany to World Cup victory. In his club career, he has represented Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Munich, and Inter Milan.

In 1990, he was voted European Player of the Year, and in 1991, he won the inaugural FIFA Player of the Year title. At the age of 38, he even received the German Footballer of the Year award in 1999. That only goes to demonstrate how reliable a performer he was on stage.

Matthaus is known for his marauding runs from midfield when his exceptional control and acceleration leave opponents for dead. The German legend has exceptional positional awareness, vision, and the ability to smash the ball into the back of the net from any distance. He was also a fantastic tackler and an all-around midfielder.

3. Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos (Credit: Chema ReyMARCA)
Toni Kroos (Credit: Chema ReyMARCA)

Toni Kroos is a World Cup champion and one of the best midfielders of his generation. He has been Real Madrid’s number eight for over a decade. Before joining Real Madrid in 2014 and wearing the number 8, he won the World Cup with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich.

Toni Kroos is a deep-lying playmaker who has led Real Madrid’s attacking squads for the past seven or eight seasons. Kroos, unlike many of the other players on this list, does not wow football fans with his ability, but he is the team’s beating heart, connecting the defensive line to the attack and beginning build-up play.

2. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard (Credit: IMDB)

The Chelsea icon is widely regarded as one of the best English midfielders of all time. When he played for the Blues and England, the all-action goal-scoring box-to-box midfielder was known for wearing the number 8 shirt. Lampard has exceptional skill and vision, which enabled him to assist and score several goals throughout his illustrious career.

1. Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta (Credit: Twitter)
Andres Iniesta (Credit: Twitter)

The former Barcelona midfielder was one of the finest number 8 players in contemporary history. For rival defenders and midfielders alike, the twinkle-toed ex-Spanish international was a nightmare to face. His dribbling skill and penchant for always finding a way out of tight circumstances made him one of football’s most dangerous opponents.

He established a deadly midfield triangle with Xavi Hernández and Sergio Busquets that helped Barcelona win several La Liga, Copa Del Rey, and UEFA Champions League trophies. Andres also demonstrated his knack for scoring crucial goals. Take, for example, a crucial goal that helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Not to mention his two goals in the 4-0 thrashing of fellow finalists in the 2012 Euro final in Italy.

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Written by Surajit Das

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