Jersey numbers are very important to footballers, with a couple of them sometimes opting to turn it into a brand (e.g CR7). 

The number 24 jersey is popular in the round-leather game, and while it is often associated with young players in their first, second or third season as professionals, some top players and veterans also use it for plenty of reasons. 

Unfortunately, the shirt number has been avoided in Brazil for years because it is traditionally associated with being gay. 

The South American country is still very much strongly homophobic, and that has unfortunately extended into football, with their players avoiding anything that could get them tagged or linked with sexual orientation, including the number 24, like the plague.

The rest of the world sees nothing wrong with the jersey number, though, as it is really just another number, and here are some of the players,  retired and playing, that have once worn/are wearing the number 24 and how they have fared while donning it.

Abou Diaby

  • Club: AJ Auxerre (2004 – 2006)
  • Arsenal (2013 – 2015)
  • Years jersey was worn:  Four 
  • Appearances: 22
  • Goals/Assists: Eight/Zero
  • Trophies: One 

The former French central midfielder retired early due to constant injuries, wearing the number 24 jersey in his first two seasons at AJ Auxerre before returning to it in his last two seasons at Arsenal having worn number 2 in his first eight seasons.

While Diaby was unlucky with injuries, the number 24 actually brought him good fortunes as he won his only piece of silverware – the 2013-14 FA Cup – in it.

He ended his career with 20 goals and 15 assists in 200 appearances, scoring once in 16 games for France.

Andrés Iniesta 

  • Club: Barcelona (2003 – 2007)
  • Years jersey was worn: Four 
  • Appearances: 168
  • Goals/Assists: 14/22
  • Trophies: Five 

The Spanish midfielder, 38 (1984), rocked the number 24 jersey in his early Barca days, winning two La Liga titles, two Supercopa de España and one Champions League in it.

Iniesta has won 32 trophies so far, including two at Vissel Kobe. 

He has scored 83 goals and weighed in with 163 assists in 800 career games so far, with 13 goals in 131 games for his country while helping them to the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 UEFA European Championships before retiring from international football in 2018.

Carles Puyol

  • Club: Barcelona (2000 – 2002)
  • Years jersey was worn:  Two
  • Appearances: 75
  • Goals/Assists: Two/Four 
  • Trophies: Zero 

The former Spanish centre-back spent the entirety of his footballing career at Camp Nou, wearing the number 24 jersey in his early days as a senior player.

While Puyol won nothing during that period, he left the Catalans with 18 trophies to his name, notching 18 goals and 13 assists in 593 games.

He played 100 games for La Roja, scoring thrice and helping them to the 2010 World Cup and 2008 European Championship.

Cheick Tiote

  • Club: Newcastle United (2010 – 2017)
  • Beijing Enterprises (2017)
  • Years jersey was worn: Seven
  • Appearances: 167
  • Goals/Assists: One/Nine
  • Trophies: Zero 

The late Senegalese midfielder wore the number 24 jersey all through his time in the Premier League with the Toons, and briefly in the Chinese League One before his unfortunate demise after suffering a cardiac arrest in training on 5 June, 2017.

Beijing Enterprises Group retired Tiote’s number 24 shirt on 24 June to honour him, while Newcastle fans launched a petition for the club to follow suit, but that is yet to happen.

While he won nothing wearing the number, he helped Anderlecht to three major trophies and Twente to two.

Tiote scored four goals and made 11 others in 285 career club games, scoring once in 55 games for his country and winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. 

Claude Makélélé

  • Club: Real Madrid (2000 – 2004)
  • Years jersey was worn: Four 
  • Appearances: 145
  • Goals/Assists: Two/Seven 
  • Trophies: Seven 

The former French defensive midfielder wore the number 24 shirt all through his time at the Santiago Bernabeu and is without a doubt the greatest Real Madrid player to wear the number at the club.

Makelele won two La Liga titles, two Supercopa de Españas, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup and one Intercontinental Cup with Los Blancos. 

He won a total of 15 trophies in four of the six clubs he lined up for, scoring 25 goals and assisting 28 times in 802 games. 

The Zaire-born legend played 72 games for Les Bleus, winning nothing having missed out on the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 squads.

Corentin Tolisso

  • Club: Olympique Lyon (2013/14, 2014/15)
  • Bayern Munich (2017 – 2022)
  • Years jersey was worn: Seven 
  • Appearances: 186
  • Goals/Assists: 29/18
  • Trophies: 14

The 28-year-old midfielder (1994) rocked the number 24 shirt all through his time at the Allianz Arena and in his early Lyon days.

Tolisso won it all at Bayern, with five Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokal, four DFL-Supercups, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup to his name.

The Frenchman has played 286 career club games so far, with 50 goals and 32 assists under his belt.

The 2018 World Cup winner has two goals in 28 games for France.

Darren Fletcher

  • Club: Manchester United (2003 – 2014)
  • West Bromwich Albion (2015 – 2017)
  • Stoke City (2017 – 2019)
  • Years jersey was worn: 16
  • Appearances: 479
  • Goals/Assists: 32/37
  • Trophies: 13

The former Scottish midfielder wore the number 24 jersey for the majority of his playing career, with all his 13 trophies coming at Old Trafford.

Fletcher won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one Football League Cup, four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup with the Red Devils.

The one-time PFA Premier League Team of the Year member bagged 32 goals in 481 club career games, assisting 37 times.

Fletcher played 80 times for Scotland, scoring on five occasions.

Gary Cahill

  • Club: Chelsea (2011 – 2019)
  • Crystal Palace (2019 – 2021)
  • AFC Bournemouth (2021/22)
  • Years jersey was worn: 11
  • Appearances: 484
  • Goals/Assists: 41/16
  • Trophies: Eight

The English defender, 36 (1985) has worn the number 24 jersey since his Chelsea days, and is likely to retain it should he decide to play for an eighth club after becoming a free agent at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

The three-time PFA Team of the Year member won two Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one League Cup, one UEFA Champions League and two UEFA Europa Leagues with the Blues in the number.

Cahill has played 585 games so far, scoring 45 goals and making 18 assists. 

He played 61 times for England, scoring five times. 

Hector Bellerin

  • Club: Arsenal (2015 – 2018)
  • Years jersey was worn:  Three 
  • Appearances: 133
  • Goals/Assists: Five/18
  • Trophies: Three 

The 27-year-old Barcelona right-back briefly wore the number 24 shirt at Arsenal, winning one FA Cup and two FA Community Shields in it.

Bellerin has won seven trophies so far, with nine goals and 35 assists to his name in 281 club career games.

He has played four times so far for the Spanish national team.

Joe Allen

  • Club: Swansea City (2008 – 2012)
  • Liverpool (2012 – 2016)
  • Years jersey was worn: Eight 
  • Appearances: 356
  • Goals/Assists: 27/31
  • Trophies: Zero 

The 32-year-old (1990) Welsh midfielder played in the number 24 jersey in his early days at Swansea before wearing it all through his Liverpool career.

Allen is yet to win a major trophy, coming close on two occasions with the Reds. 

He has scored 35 goals and made another 37 in 510 games thus far, with two goals in 72 appearances for Wales.

Lorenzo Insigne

  • Club: Napoli (2012 – 2022)
  • Toronto FC (2022 – date)
  • Years jersey was worn: 11
  • Appearances: 444
  • Goals/Assists: 128/97
  • Trophies: Three 

The Toronto FC winger is one of the very popular and iconic players that wear the number 24 jersey.

Insigne wears 24 because it is his wife’s birthday and he believes the number brings him luck.

He won two Coppa Italias and one Supercoppa Italiana with the Serie A outfit and has scored a total of 187 goals and registered 114 assists in 566 games to date.

Insigne has 10 goals in 54 games for Italy, winning the 2020 UEFA European Championship.

Marco Verratti

  • Club: Paris Saint-Germain (2012 – 2015)
  • Years jersey was worn: Three 
  • Appearances: 131
  • Goals/Assists: Three/23
  • Trophies: Nine

The Italian midfielder, 29 (1992), wore the number 24 shirt in his first three seasons at Parc des Princes, winning three Ligue 1 titles, one Coupe de France, two Coupe de la Ligues and three Trophée des Champions.

Verratti has won a total of 30 trophies, with 13 goals and 72 assists in 765 games across two clubs.

He won the 2020 UEFA European Championship with Italy and has scored thrice in 49 games.

Manuel Almunia

  • Club: Arsenal (2004 – 2008)
  • Years jersey was worn: Four 
  • Appearances: 81
  • Goals/Assists: Zero/Zero
  • Trophies: Two 

The former Spanish goalkeeper won the 2004-05 FA Cup and 2004 FA Community Shield with the Gunners during the seven seasons he spent in North London, wearing the number 24 jersey in his first four campaigns.

Almunia played 405 club career games, but was unable to earn a cap for Spain given the quality of options they had in the position at the time.

Patrick Vieira

  • Club: Manchester City (2009 – 2011)
  • Years jersey was worn:  Two
  • Appearances: 46
  • Goals/Assists: Six/Five
  • Trophies: One 

The former French midfield powerhouse picked up the number 23 jersey after moving to the Etihad Stadium, helping them to the 2010-11 FA Cup.

It was the last piece of silverware Vieira won in his playing career having picked up 18 at three of his earlier clubs.

He ended his club career with 58 goals and 71 assists in 651 games.

The retired no-nonsense midfield kingpin scored six goals in 107 international caps, winning the 1998 World Cup, the 2000 UEFA European Championship and the FIFA Confederations Cup the following year.

Roque Santa Cruz

  • Club: Bayern Munich (1999 – 2008)
  • Málaga CF (2012/13, 2015/16)
  • Olimpia Asunción (2016 – 2021)
  • Club Libertad Asunción (2021 – date)
  • Years jersey was worn: 18
  • Appearances: 447
  • Goals/Assists: 120/37 
  • Trophies: 19

The 41-year-old (1981) Paraguayan striker wore the number 24 jersey all through his Bayern Munich career and has done so at three of his last four clubs.

All his honours have come in the shirt, with five Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals, one DFB-Ligapokal, one UEFA Champions League and one Intercontinental Cup at Bayern, while he won five Paraguayan Primera División titles and one Copa Paraguay with Olimpia Asunción.

Santa Cruz has 218 goals and 55 assists in 699 games so far, and the two-time Paraguayan Footballer of the Year bagged 32 goals in 112 games for his country.

Reece James

  • Club: Chelsea (2019 – date)
  • Years jersey was worn: Four 
  • Appearances: 176
  • Goals/Assists: 13/23
  • Trophies: Two 

The England international right-back, 22 (1999), has worn the number 24 shirt since making his senior full debut for the Blues, winning the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup so far.

James has played 13 games for his country and will be hoping to help them land the 2022 World Cup.

Serge Aurier

  • Club: Tottenham Hotspur (2017 – 2021)
  • Nottingham Forest (2022 – date)
  • Years jersey was worn: Five
  • Appearances: 110
  • Goals/Assists: Eight/17
  • Trophies: Zero 

The 29-year-old (1992) Ivory Coast international right-back spent all his time with the North London side in the number 24 jersey, but could not win silverware despite coming close twice.

All his 11 trophies so far came at PSG, and he has scored 22 goals and assisted another 47 in 373 club career games.

Aurier is his national team’s skipper, helping them to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, with four goals in 81 games thus far.

Sime Vrsaljko

  • Club: Atlético Madrid (2019 – 2022)
  • Years jersey was worn: Three 
  • Appearances: 46
  • Goals/Assists: Two/Three
  • Trophies: One 

The 30-year-old (1992) Olympiacos full-back sported the number 24 shirt during his final three seasons at the La Liga club, winning the 2020-21 Spanish top-flight title.

Vrsaljko has won eight trophies in his professional career so far, with four goals and 28 assists in 287 games to his name.

The Croatian international has played 52 times for his country.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

  • Club: Bayer 04 Leverkusen (2021 – date)
  • Crystal Palace (2017/18)
  • Manchester United (2016 – 2020)
  • Years jersey was worn: Eight 
  • Appearances: 61
  • Goals/Assists: Zero/Zero
  • Trophies: One 

The Leverkusen number 24 has worn the shirt for a while, winning the UEFA Europa League in the first campaign he did so with the Red Devils.

Fosu-Mensah won the FA Cup the season before that and will be hoping to add more to his trophy cabinet going forward.

The Netherlands international, 24 (1998), has played 84 times across all his clubs, with three international caps to his name.

Yaya Toure

  • Club: Barcelona (2007 – 2010)
  • Years jersey was worn: Three 
  • Appearances: 118
  • Goals/Assists: Six/Eight 
  • Trophies: Seven 

The former Ivory Coast international midfielder donned the number 24 jersey in the three seasons he spent with the Catalans, winning two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one Supercopa de España, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. 

Toure ended his club career with 17 winners’ medals, recording a total of 101 goals and 70 assists in 622 games.

The four-time African Footballer of the Year won the Africa Cup of Nations once, scoring 19 times in 101 international appearances.

Honourable Mentions 

  • Aitor Karanka 
  • Alvaro Benito
  • Alvaro Mejia
  • Andreu Fontas
  • Anthony Gordon 
  • Asier Illarramendi
  • Brenno Costa 
  • Dani Ceballos
  • Daniele Rugani
  • Eric Garcia
  • Esteban Granero
  • Fernando Couto 
  • Gareth Barry
  • Javier Balboa
  • Javi Garcia
  • Jeremy Mathieu
  • John Lukic
  • John Stones 
  • Lassana Diarra
  • Marash Kumbulla
  • Mohamed Elyounoussi
  • Mariano Díaz
  • Mark Flatts 
  • Merveille Papela 
  • Miguel Almirón
  • Nampalys Mendy
  • Papu Gómez
  • Paul Dickov 
  • Richard Wright 
  • Rami Shaaban 
  • Roger Garcia
  • Ryan Fredericks
  • Sami Khedira
  • Sergi Roberto
  • Simon Kjaer
  • Vito Mannone
  • Yerry Mina