In the pantheon of Chelsea shirts, there is arguably none more legendary than the No.26, as worn by John Terry throughout his incomparable career at the club. And while not officially “retired”, it’s not a number that was ever expected to be assigned again, much like Gianfranco Zola’s No.25 — the numbers being well above the usual range of football shirt numbers only made that more likely. It would be much harder to do that with Frank Lampard’s No.8, for example.
In any case, new signing Kalidou Koulibaly has worn No.26 for much of his career as well, and given that he’s been one of the best in the world at his position for much of that time, his arrival posed the obvious question of whether he would take JT’s old number.
As confirmed by the Chelsea official website, he indeed has!
Of course, officially this is just a “temporary” assignment, for now only valid for preseason. Official squad lists are not due in to the Premier League until after the transfer window, so the number could change before then. But it’s a very good indication that K2 will indeed by our new No.26!
In related news, Raheem Sterling has taken up (temporarily at least) the No.17, which was last seen on Mateo Kovacic (before he switched to No.8) and then Saul Niguez. No.17 was also Eden Hazard’s number for a couple seasons before he switched to No.10.
And Conor Gallagher has ditched the No.38 from Saturday’s game to take up the No.15, which was unassigned last season following the departure of Kurt Zouma.