Franck Kessie is the latest AC Milan player to avoid wearing one of football’s traditional numbers on the back of his jersey.
The Rossoneri are renowned for allowing their first team stars to wear an unusual team number over the years.
Ronaldinho, Mathieu Flamini and Andriy Shevchenko all made headlines, winning numbers 80, 84 and 76 respectively in tribute to the year they were born after signing for Milan in 2008.
The season before Ronaldo wore No.99 because Filippo Inzaghi had his favorite No.9 at the time, so the Brazil icon went for a double 9.
Now Kessie – who has sparked interest from Arsenal and Spurs in the Premier League – has made a name for himself in No.79.
The Ivorian began his career with the Stella Club minnows, before being taken over by Serie A Atalanta in 2015.
He received the No.98 shirt before receiving the No.19 from La Dea after impressing the Serie B club on loan from Cesena.
Kessie kept the 19 shirt when he joined AC Milan in June 2017 to allow Leonardo Bonucci to take it on his arrival a month later.
The midfielder was offered his old kit a season later when Bonucci returned to Juventus in a trade with Mattia Caldara.
But Kessie refused, saying, “The new management asked me if I wanted number 19.
“I turned it down because I feel good with the 79 and I didn’t want the fans who already bought my shirt to spend money again.”
Kessie will line up against Liverpool in No.79 tonight in a clash reminiscent of the 2005 Champions League final where the Reds came back incredibly 3-0 to beat Milan on penalties.
The Italians were leading 3-0 at half-time in Istanbul and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who was in his first managerial role in Mainz at the time, admitted he had almost interrupted the game.
“At that time I was neither an AC Milan nor Liverpool fan watching the Champions League final and after 3-0, with everything that has been said before about Milan being the favorite, it looked like the game was over, ”said Klopp.
“I thought I wasn’t watching the second half because everyone except the few people in the Liverpool dressing room thought this game could be decided.
“And then it became one of the greatest football sensations of all time and I was really happy that I didn’t turn off the TV and watched the whole game.”