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Which players have worn Antonio Rüdiger’s 22 shirt at Real Madrid?

The Germany defender has chosen to inherit Isco’s shirt number at Real Madrid, which has been worn by a mixture of stars and not-so-successful signings.

Rüdiger inherits Isco's 22 shirt at Real Madrid

Antonio Rüdiger has elected to wear the number 22 after joining Real Madrid from Chelsea on a free transfer. The 29-year-old Germany had two options available to him, 12, which was recently vacated by Marcelo, or the 22, which had been Isco’s. Another new arrival, Aurélien Tchouaméni, had already chosen the number 18, which was available after Gareth Bale’s contract at the Bernabéu was not renewed.

There may be other shirt numbers available before too long as Madrid seek to trim Carlo Ancelotti’s squad further. Several players have uncertain futures and Rüdiger had the option of waiting to see if something else became free. Among the players who may yet vacate a shirt number this summer are Mariano (24), Luka Jovic (16), Marco Asensio (11), Dani Ceballos (19) and Jesús Vallejo, whose shirt number 5 was previously worn by Zinedine Zidane. Rüdiger, though, chose to go with one that was available now and, as is often the case at Madrid, there is a lot of history behind the 22.

Real Madrid’s 22 a mixed bag

Isco wore the number during his nine seasons at Real Madrid, which reaped five Champions League titles and three Ligas among other trophies, choosing the 22 when he joined from Málaga in 2013. Rüdiger’s decision may also have been influenced by another illustrious German at Madrid, goalkeeper Bodo Illgner, who won the World Cup in 1990 and two Champions Leagues while between the sticks at the Bernabéu. Illgner wore the number for a spell during the 1996-97 season before inheriting the number 1 as the first-choice keeper.

The full list of players who have worn the 22 at Real Madrid has a bit of everything, from the extremely successful – Xabi Alonso wore it for a season before inheriting Guti’s 14 and Ángel di María is another to have done the number proud – to youth team players who didn’t quite make the grade such as Francisco Pavón and Álvaro Benito, who was hampered by injuries. World Cup-winner Christian Karembeu was another to win two Champions Leagues wearing the 22, while Portuguese full-back Secretário, who would have been assigned it had he lasted more than a season, disappeared without trace.