Soccer has been around for over 2000 years. In this time, the game has seen many changes and revolutions, including the evolution of positions.
Currently, position number four is the center-back. As the soccer formation evolved, the number 4 was often donned by a sweeper or libero. Although this position was meant to protect the middle of the field, the players also attacked from the flanks. The holding midfielder is no longer utilized in modern soccer and has evolved into a new position – the center-back.
This article will look at soccer players with the number 4 on their backs, including their:
- Life and talent in soccer
- Milestones at different clubs and internationally
- Personal recognition and accolades
The soccer players discussed below have played this position exceptionally well. Some even broke records and inspired new ways of playing the position. So keep reading and be awed by the outstanding sportsmanship of these soccer players who donned the number 4.
The Best Soccer Players To Wear Number 4
Soccer players who wear the number 4 jersey are normally central defenders, and there are a few special ones in this list. Surprisingly, there are also midfielders and a striker who also wears number 4.
Sergio Ramos Garcia is a Spanish soccer player known for being a defender with goal-scoring capabilities and exceptional leadership skills.
Ramos rose through Sevilla’s youth academy. He played for two years for the Sevilla senior team and moved to Real Madrid. He stayed at Real Madrid for 16 seasons and was the captain for six seasons. Moreover, he is considered among the greatest defenders and captains of all time.
Ramos is currently playing for the League 1 club Paris Saint-Germain. He has, however, had outstanding feats in his career that have seen him receive several awards and accolades.
He has won 22 major titles while at Real Madrid, including five La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League.
Internationally, he represented Spain at four World Cups and won the 2010 World Cup. He also represented his country in three European Championships winning in 2008 and 2012.
Here are some of his accolades:
- La Liga’s top goal scorer from a defensive position
- Named 11 times to the FIFPro World11
- Elected to the UEFA Team of the Year nine times
- La Liga’s Best Defender five times
- Named to the La Liga Team of the Season 2015/16
- Spain’s youngest player to reach 100 caps
- Spain’s most capped player
- Spain’s eighth highest goal scorer of all time
- Most international victories for Spain with 131 matches won.
Patrick Viera is the current manager of the Premier League club Crystal Palace. In his playing days, he was a dominating box-to-box midfielder.
He started his career at Cannes moved to Milan and then Arsenal. After an impressive career at Arsenal, he moved to Juventus, then to Inter Milan after Juventus was relegated due to a scandal. He finally retired while at Manchester City.
Viera has had several wins in his career, including four FA Cups and three Premier League titles at Arsenal, with one of them winning unbeaten. While at Inter Milan, he won four league titles. He also won an FA Cup while at Manchester City.
Playing for his country, France, Viera amassed 107 appearances before retiring from international soccer in 2010. He won with the national team the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2000. He also appeared at the 2002 and 2006 World Cup and Euro 2004 and 2008, playing for France.
After he retired from the field, he took on coaching, starting with the Manchester City academy. He later moved to Major League Soccer to coach New York City FC.
Subsequently, in 2018 he moved to France to coach club Nice, a League 1 club. Currently, he is the manager of Crystal Palace.
Stephen Roger Bruce is described as the best English soccer player of the 1980s and 1990s to never play for England’s national team. However, Bruce had an impressive career at the club level and even more as a manager.
Bruce started his career with an apprenticeship at Gillingham, where he appeared in more than 200 games.
In 1984, he joined Norwich City and won the League Cup in 1985. Later, in 1987, he moved to Manchester United, where he won 12 titles, including three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
He was also the first player from England to captain a team to the double in the 20th century. As a manager, Bruce has led two teams’ promotions to the Premier League twice, Hull City and Birmingham City.
He has also managed Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Aston Villa, and New Castle United. His final match with New Castle also marked his 1000th match in club management.
Claude Makelele Sinda is a French soccer player credited for redefining the position of a defensive midfielder.
Today’s defensive midfielder position is colloquial to how Makelele played it in the 2004/05 FA Premier League, where he was very instrumental in helping Chelsea win the cup.
He is currently a youth coach and technical mentor at Chelsea.
He played for Nantes, Marseille, Celta Vigo, Real Madrid, Chelsea and retired at Paris Saint-Germain.
He also featured in the team that reached the 2006 FIFA World Cup final and played for his country, France, in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, two UEFA European Championships, and the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Francesc “Cesc” Fabregas Soler is a Spanish professional soccer player playing for Ligue 1 club, Monaco, as a central midfielder.
Arsenal signed Fabregas in 2003 at the age of 16. In the 2004/05 season, he established himself, winning the FA Cup in 2005. In 2011, he transferred to Barcelona, winning the La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and two Spanish Super Cups. In 2014, he moved to Chelsea and secured the League Cup.
Fabregas represented his country in various tournaments, including the 2006 and 2010 UEFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, Euro 2012, 2013 Confederations Cup, 2014 World Cup, and Euro 2016.
He has been vital in his country’s wins of the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championship Cups.
Sami Tuomas Hyypia is a former defender and soccer manager. He is a prominent figure in Finland, having been capped 105 times since his debut in the national team in 1992. He has also been named the Finnish Sports’ Journalists and Football Association Player of the Year several times.
Hyypia started his career in Kumu before moving to MyPa, where he helped the club win the Finnish Cup in 1992 and 1995. In the same year, 1995, he moved to Willem II, where he became team captain and was crucial in them qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
In 1999, he moved to Liverpool, where he became captain too for a while and won the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and the FA Community Shield.
He retired at German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in 2011 after joining them in 2009.
After his retirement, he became manager for Bayer Leverkusen. He then moved to Brighton & Hove Albion in 2014, and lastly, he moved to a Swiss club FC Zurich from 2015 to 2016.
Vincent Kompany is a former Belgian soccer player and manager of the Belgian club RSC Anderlecht where he started his career.
After kicking off his professional career at Anderlecht, he moved to the Bundesliga club, Hamburg. He later moved to the Premier League club Manchester City where he played for 11 seasons, captaining eight of them.
During his career, he was awarded several recognitions:
- Included in 2011, 2012, 2014 Premier League Team of the Year
- Won the 2012 Premier League Player of the Season
- Listed 23rd by The Guardian in The 100 Best Footballers in the world
He also played for his country for 15 years and was captain for seven years.
Virgil van Dijk
Considered among the best defenders globally, Virgil van Dijk is a Dutch professional soccer player playing for the English club Liverpool as a center-back.
He began his professional career at Groningen before moving to Celtic in 2013, where he won the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish League Cup.
Later, in 2015 he joined Southampton and then Liverpool in 2018. He has won the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and the Premier League while with Liverpool.
Here are some of his accolades:
- The only defender to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year
- Runners-up for the Ballon d’Or
- Runners-up for the Best FIFA Men’s Player
- Named in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year
- PFA Players’ Player of the Year
- Premier League Player of the Season
He has also captained the Netherlands to the final of the UEFA Nations League in 2019 after making his international senior debut in 2015.
Fernando Ruiz Hierro is a Spanish center-back, defensive midfielder, and soccer manager. He played for the La Liga club Real Madrid for 14 years, where he won five La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies appearing more than 500 times.
He appeared 90 times for his country and played in four World Cups and two European Championships.
He started his managerial career in 2016 at Oviedo, and two years later, he was appointed the manager of the national team.
Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor is a famous soccer player from Togo. He holds the record for most goals scored in a single season. In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, as well as the 2010 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, he represented his country.
Adebayor was one of the players affected when the Togo team’s bus was shot at while traveling to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, and he resigned from national team activity as a result.
However, he rejoined the Togo squad for the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa, where he helped them reach the quarter-finals. With 32 goals, he is Togo’s all-time leading scorer.