From Lionel Messi to Pele, the No.10 jersey has an historical significance in the game. Check out the players who donned this famous jersey.
Each jersey number has its own significance in a player’s minds, but some numbers mean more to the fans than the others. The No. 10 is one such jersey. Many footballing greats have donned the legendary No.10 on their back while creating history. Modern day football fans particularly associate the jersey number with one playing legend – Lionel Messi. There great, Ronaldinho, donned it before Messi with Barcelona. If we do a little more digging, a host of other superstars have carried this number on their back as well.
Let’s check out the players who did justice to the No.10 jersey:
Arguably the greatest footballer of all-time, Pele broke every record possible at international level. Making his club debut at the age of 15 for Santos and breaking into Brazil national team at 16, the forward was one of the first few players to bring the spotlight on the famous No.10 jersey.
Among his most significant achievements were the three World Cups he won in 1958, 1962 and 1970. The gifted attacker has netted 77 times for Brazil and will always be remembered for his all-action attacking game. Be it passing, crossing, dribbling, finishing, there was not a thing Pele could not do.
Maradona was the next player to challenge Pele’s “the greatest” footballer title. The Argentine attacker is one of the best dribblers football has ever seen. He his slick with his movement and manoeuvred past players with ease. His vision, passing range, late sprints and a lethal finish made him one of the best players to ever wear the No.10 jersey.
Among the four World Cups Maradona played, he is fondly remembered for his stupendous performance in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He captained Argentina and led them to victory over West Germany in the final. In the tournament where he won the Golden Ball, Maradona had two most telling moments of his career – “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century”, where he dribbled for 60 metres and beat five English players to put the ball in the net.
One of the greatest attacking midfielders of all-time, Zidane was simply too hot to handle as a player. The elite playmaker made noticeable contributions for both France and Real Madrid. None more than the two goals he scored in the 1998 World Cup final against the all-conquering Brazil team.
His other illustrious moment came in the 2002 Champions League final, scoring a memorable left-footed volley winner against Bayer Leverkusen from the edge of the penalty box. Known for his elegance with the ball at his feet, Zidane was a technically gifted player who was at the heart of every good thing is club and country did. He is a fitting player to have donned the famous old jersey.
A two time FIFA World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho had the world at his feet and made the opposition defenders dance to his tune in his Barcelona days. He has the honour of being one of the few players to get a standing ovation at their rivals Real Madrid’s home ground – Santiago Bernabeu.
He was instrumental in Barcelona winning their first Champions League title (2006) in 14 years. Ronaldinho was also an integral part of the 2002 World Cup winning team, where he assisted Rivaldo for Brazil’s equaliser and scored the famous free-kick goal from 40 yards against England in the quarterfinal. He made football look easy with his mesmerizing skills on the ball.
Messi inherited the No.10 jersey from Ronaldinho at Barcelona after the 2007-08 season. He took the game to new heights as he typified the rise of Barcelona under Pep Guardiola. The all-conquering Spanish side revolutionized the way football was played.
Messi’s personal success was synonymous with Barcelona dominating world football. He has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards and a further six European Golden Shoes. He played a pivotal role in Argentina reaching the 2014 World Cup final and deservedly won the Golden Ball for his overall contribution.