The best soccer players with number 3 in history

13/04/2024 Betting News

In football, players wearing the number 3 jersey are often the most versatile. Specifically, they possess technical skills and can defend effectively. Modern football sees number 3 players often inclined towards attacking. They exhibit enduring defensive capabilities while contributing significantly to the offense with abundant energy. The most famous figure in the history of world football wearing the number 3 is Roberto Carlos. However, besides the legendary Brazilian, there are many other prominent stars you may not know or have heard of. To understand more, continue reading the “Top 10 soccer players with number 3 in the world” content below, curated by Wintips admin.

Best soccer players with number 3
Best soccer players with number 3

Best soccer players with number 3 ever – Top 10

1. Roberto Carlos

If there’s one word to describe Roberto Carlos perfectly, it’s “unique.” As one of the most famous left-backs of all time, Carlos’s talent lies in his ability to strike from 30 meters out. While most attempts veer off target, the Brazilian legend executes a perfect free-kick that seems impossible to save.

Best soccer players with number 3
Brazilian legend – R. Carlos with the signature number 3 shirt

Upon execution, the ball bends almost a meter away from the goal, then swirls back in to create a marvelous goal. With thighs thicker than many people’s waistlines, Roberto Carlos could run all day and is one of the most attacking-minded defenders in history. A superb crosser, the Brazilian superstar is more comfortable going forward than defending.

2. Ashley Cole – Soccer players with number 3

Another world-class wing-back, Ashley Cole of the England national team, makes our list as he is considered one of the best left-backs of the past two decades. After making his debut for Arsenal in 1999, Cole experienced 20 professional seasons, nearly all of them at the top level of professional football.

Former Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole
Former Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole

A regular for the England national team, Cole earned 107 caps for his country and spent 7 seasons with Arsenal before controversially moving to London rivals Chelsea. In his highly successful career, Cole won 3 Premier League titles, 7 FA Cups, 1 Europa League, and a Champions League with Chelsea.

3. Denis Irwin – Soccer players with number 3

As an Irish international, Irwin is one of the two most successful Irish players of all time, alongside his Manchester United compatriot Roy Keane. While not all number 3s are wing-backs, Irwin spent much of his career as one of the toughest, smartest, and most reliable defenders of his era.

Best soccer players with number 3
Man Utd fans can’t help but know defender Denis Irwin

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson often regarded Denis Irwin as his greatest ever player. Irwin’s infrequent mention is due to his rarity in making mistakes on the field. Having won 19 trophies as a player and reached the last 16 of the World Cup with Ireland, Denis Irwin’s career is comparable to anyone’s.

4. Gerard Pique

Fresh in the minds of most football fans, especially with his remarkable career at Barcelona, Gerard Pique retired only in 2022. As one of Spain’s finest players, Pique has garnered numerous titles both domestically and internationally.

Barca are lucky to have a steel centre-back named Gerard Pique
Barca are lucky to have a steel centre-back named Gerard Pique

As a European and World Cup champion with Spain, the Barcelona center-back has clinched multiple La Liga and Champions League titles as a key member of what is deemed one of the greatest teams of all time. Super Cups, World Club Cups, Barcelona triumphed in every competition they entered, with their exceptional number 3 at the heart of their defense.

5. Ruben Dias – Soccer players with number 3

Ruben Dias is among the most outstanding professional footballers to wear the number 3 jersey. During his time at Manchester City, he has built a reputation as a reliable force to be reckoned with.

Talent and maturity made Ruben Dias a great success
Talent and maturity made Ruben Dias a great success

His leadership qualities, resolute demeanor, and defensive abilities have had a significant impact on the team’s performance. His defensive skills and assured partnership with fellow defenders have helped Manchester City secure victories in the Premier League and make notable strides in the UEFA Champions League.

6. Pepe – Soccer players with number 3

You can’t wear the Portuguese jersey 133 times without being an outstanding player, and Pepe, the former Real Madrid center-back, is one of the toughest defenders you’ll ever see. As a rugged defender, sometimes even dangerous, Pepe spent 10 seasons with Madrid, intimidating opponents and often receiving yellow or red cards for his aggressive challenges.

Best soccer players with number 3
Legend of Portugal and Real Madrid – Pepe

Despite his robust style, Pepe is a cultured player, comfortable on the ball, although he prefers the enforcer role rather than the elegant ball-playing defender position. Now back in Portugal with Porto, Pepe once again commands the defense, and at 39 years old, shows no signs of slowing down. With an array of incredible titles, Pepe will go down as one of the greatest defenders of all time, boasting 4 Primeira Liga championships with Porto, along with 3 La Liga and 3 Champions League titles with Real Madrid.

See also: Want to bet on sports? Let’s take a look at the best bookmaker for football in 2024.

7. Paolo Maldini

It has to be Paolo Maldini who claims the number one spot in our list of greatest number 3s; the former Italian player and AC Milan legend is one of the greatest footballers of all time. As a cultured, elegant defender with the leadership qualities of a battlefield commander, Maldini is the most complete left-back of all time.

A player wearing the famous number 3 shirt of Italian football - Paolo Maldini
A player wearing the famous number 3 shirt of Italian football – Paolo Maldini

Spending his entire career at AC Milan, Maldini is revered as a legend at Milan and throughout Italy for his tireless efforts for both club and country. Maldini spent his entire career at the top, earning 126 caps for Italy, 7 Serie A titles, and an impressive 5 Champions League winner’s medals.

8. Fabinho – Soccer players with number 3

Although not a traditional defender, Fabinho’s role in the Liverpool lineup cannot be underestimated. Under the guidance of manager Jurgen Klopp, he has been widely utilized as a center-back or defensive midfielder, bringing flexibility and versatility to Liverpool’s style of play.

Best soccer players with number 3
Perhaps few midfielders like Fabinho choose to wear the number 3 shirt

Fabinho is known for his accurate passing and solid ball retention, providing the foundation for Liverpool’s attacking buildup. Additionally, he is a vital part of the team’s defensive system, with his ability to intercept passes and win the ball back effectively.

9. Diego Godin – Soccer players with number 3

Diego Roberto Godín Leal, born on February 16, 1986, is a Uruguayan center-back currently playing in Serie A for the Italian club Cagliari and serving as the captain of the Uruguayan national football team. Godín spent a significant portion of his career playing in Spain, representing clubs like Villarreal and Atlético Madrid, where he won five major and minor trophies.

Best soccer players with number 3
Former steel centre-back at Atl Madrid – Diego Godin

He formed a formidable defensive partnership with João Miranda at Atlético Madrid, playing a crucial role in the club’s triumph in the 2013-2014 season. He was also included in the La Liga Team of the Season by the Spanish Royal Football Federation (LFP) that year.

10. Patrice Evra

Patrice Evra, born on May 15, 1981, is a retired French professional footballer who primarily played as a left-back. Known for his tenacity, athleticism, and attacking prowess, Evra enjoyed a successful career at both club and international levels.

Full-back Patrice Evra for Man Utd
Full-back Patrice Evra for Man Utd

Evra began his professional career at Italian club Marsala before moving to Monza and then Nice in France. However, it was during his time at Monaco where he rose to prominence, playing a key role in the team’s run to the UEFA Champions League final in 2004. In 2006, Evra joined Manchester United, where he achieved great success under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson.


In conclusion, the number 3 jersey in soccer has been adorned by some of the most versatile and influential players in the sport’s history. From Roberto Carlos to other lesser-known but equally impactful stars, these players have showcased exceptional technical abilities, defensive prowess, and often contributed significantly to their team’s attacking play. Their enduring legacy and impact on the game make them unforgettable figures in football history.

See also: Who are the most successful English clubs in history?

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