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15 Footballers Who Had Their Shirt Number Retired

After a club in the Championship surprisingly retired a 17-year-old sensation's shirt number, here are some other stars who had their shirt numbers retired, including two former South Africa players.

Click through the gallery above to see 15 footballers who had their shirt numbers retired!

Birmingham City surprised many on Thursday when they announced that they will retire the No. 22 shirt last worn by Jude Bellingham, who has joined Borussia Dortmund.

"His caring, humble and engaging off-the-field demeanour has also made him such an impressive role model," the club said in an official statement.

"The 22 shirt has become synonymous with Jude, his rise to the first team aged just 16 years and 38 days and these qualities... As such, the club have decided it would be fitting to retire this number, to remember one of our own and to inspire others."

Bellingham is not the only player to have had his shirt number retired, however.

Clubs can opt not to hand out a certain number any longer in honour of a player's fine performances over the years, as was the case with Paolo Maldini at AC Milan (No. 3 shirt) and Diego Maradona (No. 10 shirt) at Napoli, or in the case of unforeseen tragedy.

One of the most tragic cases is that of Emiliano Sala. The Nantes striker was announced as a new signing for Cardiff City but went back to Nantes to say his goodbyes to his former teammates after completing the deal. However, on his return flight to England, the chartered plane crashed and Sala's body was later found on sea ground. As a consequence, Nantes decided to retire his No. 9 shirt in his memory.

Read: 11 South African-born Players Who Represented Other Countries

In South Africa, Senzo Meyiwa's No. 1 shirt was retired by Orlando Pirates following his tragic death by shooting in 2014, while Ajax Cape Town will not hand out the No. 21 shirt anymore after Cecil Lolo passed away in a car accident in 2015.

Click through the gallery above to see some more players who had their shirt numbers retired, and let us know, in the comments section below, which number, if any, your club should not hand out any more in honour a certain player.

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