The aura surrounding the number 10 in the world of football is big, but particularly so when it comes to South American players. Pele wore number 10. So did Maradona. And the best player from Pele’s national team and the best player from Maradona’s national team couldn’t both wear No. 10, not while they were playing on the same club.
On Argentina’s national team, Lionel Messi is the undisputed 10. So is Neymar in Brazil. And when the two players played together in Barcelona F.C, Messi, who was there before Neymar, wore the No. 10 shirt. But Messi left Barcelona F.C earlier this year for Neymar’s PSG, and when he did, Neymar had an offer for his friend and current Ballon d’Or winner: you can wear the number 10, and I’ll wear another number.
Messi, however, refused.
“The No. 10 was his and I was arriving at a new team to help,” Messi told France Football about the decision. “It was incredible that he offered me it, but I expected that because I know Neymar well. We spent time together at Barcelona and we’re friends. But I thought it was right that he kept the No. 10. So, I picked a different number that I liked.”
Messi will always be the No. 10 in the hearts of his fans, and on the Argentina national team, but for now, at PSG, he’s happy with the No. 30.