Sixth century Greek mathematicians believed four to be the perfect number. And many ancient cultures deemed the earth to be constructed of four main elements: earth, air, fire and water. Four-leaf clovers are lucky in much of the western world while in East Asia there are those that live in fear of the number.
On the football field, this mystical number is usually worn by players in a defensive role, often at centre back or in a deep-lying midfield position. However, more attack-minded players have also worn the shirt, England’s Steven Gerrard being a prime example.
The No. 4 shirt has been worn by legendary players such as Jürgen Kohler, Patrick Vieira, Pep Guardiola and, more recently, Sergio Ramos.
You can read RealSport’s best number fives feature HERE.
In this piece, we will look at some players who will hope to excel in the No. 4 role when the World Cup gets underway in Russia next week. Our selection includes some of the best but also some who have an interesting tale to tell.
Here are RealSport's pick of the No. 4s going to Russia.