Football is a magical sport, and so much of its mystique and history lies within the numbers on the back of a jersey. 

The number 10 may merely represent two single digits in some sports, and could mean nothing to the average human being. But to a football lover, the number 10 signals a maverick, an outside-the-box thinker, or a daring trailblazer. 

​Likewise, to some the number five probably provokes flashbacks of a dirty, smelly bus they had to chase down every morning, and then run after every evening after school. But to us football fanatics, it conjures images of strong, strapping men who will bleed and sweat for the badge on the front of their jersey. 

So shirt numbers are kind of a big deal. And although Italian side ​Napoli have not experienced masses of glory in their past, some true legends of the game have pulled on their beautiful blue shirt over the years. But who were they? 

To the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik, all we can say is: choose better shirt numbers next time, lads. 

Here are the best players in Napoli's history to have worn the 1-11 jerseys. 

​1. Dino Zoff

Although Dino Zoff missed out in our list of ​best Juventus players to wear the shirt numbers 1-11, he ​does make the cut for Napoli, at least. The Italian shot-stopper is renowned for the success he enjoyed with I Bianconeri towards the end of his career, but he did enjoy five years in the south of Italy, too. 

Zoff made his name at Napoli, where his superb displays cemented his place in the Italian national side, eventually going on to win the World Cup. The Napoli star is forever in the conversation as one of the game's greatest ever goalkeepers, and he rightfully claims his place with the number one jersey. 

2. Ciro Ferrara 

Another man who swapped Naples for Turin, Ciro Ferrera takes the number two spot. The Italian defender is Naples born and bred, and he gave his all for his hometown club, culminating in earning two Serie A titles and a UEFA Cup with I Partenopei. 

Ferrara would go on to lift just about everything on offer with the Old Lady, but his achievements alongside Diego Maradona and the rest of the 1980s Napoli sides will remain a highlight for the youth academy product. 

3. Giovanni Francini

Another key figure in the famous Napoli team from the 1980's, Giovanni Francini dons our number three jersey. The Italian left-back enjoyed a fairly average career until his time at Napoli, where he would pick up the only trophies in his entire career. 

Those successes would be a scudetto and a UEFA Cup, however. Heavyweight stuff. A committed, full-blooded defender, Francini makes the grade in this prestigious list. 

4. Salvatore Bagni

If you're putting out a team that boasts Diego Maradona, you certainly need an unsung hero to do all the dirty work that probably goes unnoticed. And well, Salvatore Bagni was just that. 

A hard worker and a proper team player, Bagni regularly anchored the Napoli midfield, allowing those gifted with attacking flair to make their mark upon proceedings. The Italian's selflessness was rewarded, helping them to the Serie A and Coppa Italia double in 1987. 

5. Ruud Krol 

Widely regarded as one of the best defenders of all time, Ruud Krol spent four years in Naples, where he would go on to prove just how gifted he truly was. The Dutch star could play as a sweeper or at full-back, and he was an inspirational leader in the Napoli side from 1980-84. 

Krol was ultimately sold by Napoli, as the club simply couldn't afford to keep both he and Maradona on the books at the same time. But his legacy remained untouched by this, and he is well remembered as one of I Partenopei's finest stars. 

6. Moreno Ferrario

A real icon, now. Moreno Ferrario spent over a decade at Napoli, going on to rank third in the club's list of most appearances. A solid centre-back, Ferrario was overlooked on the international stage, but his status at club level was elevated by his participation in the title success of 1987. 

Stars come and go, but cult heroes live on forever. 

7. Edinson Cavani 


El Matador. Some love affairs are only fleeting, but their impact can last a lifetime. It was apparent when ​Edinson Cavani arrived in Naples, that the Uruguayan star was destined for the very top of European football - with or without I Partenopei. 

Cavani blasted home 104 goals in 138 matches over the course of his three-year spell in the south of Italy, before waving goodbye for the lights of Paris, where he has gone on to break record after record. 

A bullish striker, with pace, power, and a thunderbolt of a right boot, the Uruguayan superstar was simply unplayable on his day in Serie A. The streets of Naples won't forget their brief fling with one of football's most beautiful and destructive products. ​

8. Antonio Juliano 

From a short but sweet romance, to an eternal devotion. Antonio Juliano spent all but one season of his career at boyhood club Napoli, and he was an ever-present in the heart of their midfield. 

Able to operate as a playmaker with a superb range of passes and wonderful vision, Juliano was unfortunate to never win a Serie A title during his time in Naples, although he did lift the Coppa Italia in 1976. 

A dedicated professional.

9. Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain

I think there's little point debating the fact that if ​Gonzalo Higuaín had stayed in Naples for a few more years, he would have gone on to become the club's leading scorer, and a Partenopei legend. 

Higuaín holds the record for notching the most goals in a single Serie A season while at Napoli, bagging 36 strikes during the 2015/16 campaign. The Argentine fired 91 goals in 146 matches​ over the course of the three seasons he spent in Naples, before destroying his legacy with a move to bitter rivals Juventus. 

Napoli supporters have rarely shown such love and affection towards a player - making his eventual betrayal even more painful. What might have been. 

10. Diego Maradona 

Diego Armando Maradona

Quite simply, the greatest and most naturally gifted player to have ever graced our beautiful game. So it's no surprise that Diego Maradona occupies the famous number 10 shirt for this Napoli side, having guided his followers to the promised land of two scudetti. 

In fact, the Argentine star made the creation of this list much easier, as the Napoli number 10 jersey was retired in his honour, meaning plenty of other strikers have had to settle for inferior digits on their backs ever since. 

Nice one, Diego. 

11. Careca

Antonio Careca

Another star of Napoli's golden era, Careca was a wizard on the wing, linking up with Maradona and Bruno Giordano to create the 'Ma-Gi-Ca' trio. Pretty clever, eh? 

The Brazilian winger was incredibly gifted with the ball at his feet and possessed lightning pace, but he also knew where the goal was. Careca scored 95 goals in six seasons in Naples, and lifted the Italian side to Serie A and UEFA Cup glory. 

A club legend.