Football News

The player who inspired Gini Wijnaldum’s “really special” connection with No.5 shirt number

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 20:11, 29 March 2020

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has credited Zinedine Zidane as the inspiration for him wearing the No.5 jersey.

The 29-year-old Dutchman is among the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s teamsheet and since joining from Newcastle United in 2016, he’s emerged as one of the Premier League’s most consistent performers.

Wijnaldum at Liverpool: Five key things to know…

  • Wijnaldum joined Liverpool in 2016 after spending one season at Newcastle United.
  • He’s since gone on to make 177 appearances in all competitions, registering 18 goals and 16 assists.
  • Klopp has predominantly uses him as a box-to-box midfielder.
  • Wijnaldum made headlines when he came off the bench to score twice against Barcelona last season.
  • His present deal at Anfield expires in June 2021.

Wijnaldum has struck three times across 28 Premier League outings this season as the Reds have raced into a 25-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table.

His performances subsequently earned strong reviews from pundits, with many feeling the 62-time Netherlands international wasn’t getting his just dues. That being said, Wijnaldum’s teammates and manager were not in that camp.

An attacking midfielder during his PSV Eindhoven days, he’s very much a box-to-box midfielder these days, a far cry to the role Wijnaldum’s footballing idol Zidane played. Nevertheless the Frenchman had a profound effect on him when discussing the number on his back.

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“Number five is a really special number for me,” he revealed on an Instagram Live broadcast.

“It was my lucky number when I was young but also because my favourite player, Zinedine Zidane, was playing with number five.

“I was really happy that I could start my professional career as number five. Since then, I’ve played with number five at Newcastle and when I came to Liverpool, the club basically kept number five for me. I was really happy with that.”