The numbers beyond eleven, once regarded as just digits that represent those who are bench players, have evolved to numbers that belong not only to starters but to players who have become club and/or international legends of the sport. 

On this list, we look at players who have worn the number 13 jersey and created a great legacy. 

Alessandro Nesta

Alessandro Nesta is one of the greatest defenders of the late 1990s and 2000s. Born in Rome, Nesta started his career at Lazio, where he developed and became one of the best defenders in Europe at the time. 

Financial problems at Lazio forced the club to sell Nesta to AC Milan for €30m, thus bringing his successful eight year stay with his hometown club to an abrupt end. In his time at Lazio, he played a total of 261 games and managed to win one Scudetto, one UEFA Cup Winners Cup, one UEFA Super Cup,two Coppa Italia and one Supercoppa Italiana title.

At AC Milan, he formed a powerful defensive partnership with the likes of Paolo Maldini, Japp Stam and Maicon and was part of a Milan team that was formidable on the European stage. He made 326 appearances for the Rossoneri. 

He was a key figure in the center of the Rossoneri defence as they won two Scudetti, two UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, one FIFA Club World Cup, one Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana titles. Nesta has two FIFPro world eleven selections and was Serie A defender of the year for four consecutive seasons from 2000 to 2003.

Michael Ballack 

One of the greatest midfielders Germany has ever produced, Michael Ballack wore the number 13 jersey for Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea Football Club and Bayern Munich. 

Ballack’s prestigious career began in Chemnitzer FC Il where his talents were noticed and he moved to 1. FC Kaiserslautern where he played a key part in the team winning the Bundesliga title and becoming the first German club to do so after gaining promotion the previous season. 

The following season, he signed for Bayer Leverkusen where he came close to helping his team a treble for the German side but fell short in key moments that campaign. 

In 2002, Ballack joined Bayern Munich and enjoyed his best spell of success at a football club in his career. He won seven trophies which were three Bundesliga titles, three DFB Pokal and one DFB Ligapokal. He featured for the club 157 times. 

Ballack joined Chelsea on a free transfer in 2006, where he won six titles as a key cog in the Blue’s machine. He made 166 appearances and scored 26 times for Chelsea, helping them win one Premier League title, three FA Cups, One Football League Cup and one FA Community shield.  

He left Chelsea in 2010 and played the final two seasons of his career at Bayer Leverkusen before retiring in 2012. 

Park Ji-Sung 

Manchester United fans can never forget Park Ji-Sung. A fan favourite who was beloved by all United fans for his commitment and work ethic on the pitch as well as his incredible stamina. 

Park Ji-Sung completed a transfer from PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United at the start of the 2005/2006 season and spent seven years with the Red Devils wearing the number 13 jersey. He was a key squad player for the club and helped them win domestic and European trophies in a spell that saw him play 205 times for the Mancunian club.  His most famous game is probably when Sir Alex Ferguson told him to mark Andrea Pirlo during a champion’s league tie, and didn’t give the Italian maestro a look in all game.

He won four Premier League titles, four Football League Cups, one UEFA Champions League title, four Community Shields and one FIFA Club World Cup title. The Seoul born midfielder retired as the greatest Asian player of all time. 

Thomas Muller 

Thomas Muller has won nearly all you could win as a footballer and he could rank as the highest achieving German player in history when he calls it a career. Muller wears a different jersey number for Bayern Munich but it is for the German national team he has shined with the legendary number 13 jersey on his back. A number previously worn for Germany by the great Gerd Muller. 

After representing his country at every youth level, Muller earned his first cap in January 2010 and was picked for the FIFA World Cup that summer. He ended the tournament as the top scorer with five goals and made three assists. He claimed the young player of the tournament award as Germany took bronze after a fine tournament.  

Four years later, Muller was instrumental again as Germany won the whole tournament, scoring five goals Ajay d picked up the silver boot for being the second highest scorer in the tournament. 

Muller has earned 116 caps for Germany so far and ranks fifth overall for his country. His 44 goals ranks him seventh in the all time charts and his 40 assists puts him joint top with Mesut Ozil all time on the national team. 

Maicon

Macon started his senior professional Career with Cruzeiro in his home country of Brazil in 2002 before securing a move to AS Monaco in 2004 for €2.1m. By the time he left for Europe, he had already become a Brazil international. 

In 2006, Inter Milan spent £4.8m to bring him to Italy from France and it was at the Nerazzurri that he became one of the best fullbacks on the planet. He made 249 appearances in seven years and won eleven trophies in that time. Maicon has won four Scudetti, Two Coppa Italia, three Supercoppa Italiana and a FIFA Club World Cup. He has a FIFPro World Eleven selection to his name as well as a UEFA team of the year selection. He was also named UEFA Club Defender of the year in 2010. 

Gerd Muller 

The late, great Gerd Muller is arguably the greatest number 13 of all time, even though he only wore the number for his national team Germany. 

Born in Nördlingen, Germany, Muller played his club football for 1861 Nördlingen, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and most famously Bayern Munich where he created a legacy as the greatest German striker at club level but he didn’t stop there. 

He made his debut for Germany in 1966 and went on to score four goals in his second ever match for his country. In 1972, he scored two goals in the final of the European tournament (four the whole competition) as Germany beat the Soviet Union to clinch the title.  In 1974, Gerd Muller scored four goals and led Germany to a World Cup win as the host nation. 

Gerd Muller held the record of most goals in a World Cup finals for over 30 years before it was beaten by Ronaldo De Lima of Brazil. 

In just 62 caps, Gerd Muller scored 68 World Cup goals to become Germany’s all time top scorer. It took 132 caps for Miroslav Klose to break his record that lasted four decades. 

Gerd Muller was a Ballon d’Or winner, two time European Golden Shoe winner and a FIFA World Cup Golden shoe winner.