The No.10 is a shirt for football’s most talented and daring playmakers and there are many excellent No.10s in LaLiga Santander right now, just as several all-time greats played in Spain in the past.
The number 10 shirt may be the most prestigious and coveted shirt number in all of football. Scores of the game’s greats have worn the shirt, many of them – from Ferenc Puskas and Diego Maradona to Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi – in LaLiga.
The players wearing No.10 in the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season
John Guidetti (D. Alavés), Iker Muniain (Athletic Club), Ángel Correa (Atlético de Madrid), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Alberto Perea (Cádiz CF), Iago Aspas (RC Celta), Edu Expósito (SD Eibar), Pere Milla (Elche CF), Enes Ünal (Getafe CF), Antonio Puertas (Granada CF), Sergio Gómez (SD Huesca), Enis Bardhi (Levante UD), Roberto Torres (CA Osasuna), Sergio Canales (Real Betis), Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Óscar Plano (Real Valladolid), Ivan Rakitić (Sevilla FC), Unoccupied (Valencia), Vicente Iborra (Villarreal CF)
Most shirt numbers refer to a specific position on the pitch and the No. 10 does to an extent: it’s typically worn by midfielders and forwards. But No.10s aren’t as fixed as some of the other numbers. The No.10s are usually the ones given the freest reign. They’re the queens on the chessboard of a football pitch, able to move where they want and when they want and able to do things with the ball that most can’t.
That certainly applies to Lionel Messi, who has been the star man at Barcelona for almost a decade and a half and who has worn the No.10 on his back since 2008. The Argentine epitomises the state of mind that comes with the No.10 shirt, going out onto the pitch as a playmaker rather than a right winger or a centre-forward. Barcelona have certainly enjoyed the benefits of this, with Messi having scored well over 400 LaLiga Santander goals and counting.
Messi, though, isn’t the only supremely talented No.10 in LaLiga Santander. At Real Madrid, there’s another No.10-wearing Ballon d’Or winner in the form of Luka Modrić, with the Croatian also having an excellent eye for a defence-splitting pass. At Sevilla, another Croatia international wears the No.10 as Ivan Rakitić has returned this season to boss matches from midfield.
There are several Spanish talents who have been trusted with this shirt number too, such as Real Sociedad’s attacking leader and captain Mikel Oyarzabal, Real Betis’ pass master Sergio Canales and RC Celta’s perpetual top scorer Iago Aspas.
Ten LaLiga legends who wore the No.10
Xabi Prieto (Real Sociedad), Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona), Diego Maradona (FC Barcelona, Sevilla FC), Ferenc Puskás (Real Madrid), Paulo Futre (Atlético de Madrid), Michael Laudrup (FC Barcelona, Real Madrid), Luís Fabiano (Sevilla FC), Patxi Puñal (CA Osasuna), Juanjo Camacho (SD Huesca), László Kubala (FC Barcelona)
Diego Maradona is one of the all-time greatest No.10s, if not the greatest. He and that number have been forever linked, perhaps because it wasn’t so common to have names on the backs of shirts when the Argentine played. On his back, he simply had those two digits. At Barcelona and at Sevilla, he wore the No.10 and those jerseys are now some of the most treasured pieces of memorabilia in Spanish football history.
Ronaldinho, Michael Laudrup and László Kubala have also all worn that shirt at Barça. Kubala did so after arriving in Spain from Hungary, just like Real Madrid’s Ferenc Puskás did. For many Real Madrid supporters, Puskás is the capital city club’s greatest No.10 and that’s saying something considering how many superstar playmakers have passed through the club.
At some other Spanish teams, the No.10 shirt was occupied by one figure for years and years and years. When a player has the No.10 shirt, he doesn’t want to give it up. When a club has a great No.10, they don’t want to lose him either. That partly explains why the likes of Xabi Prieto, Patxi Puñal and Juanjo Camacho wore the No.10 for approximately a decade each at Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Huesca respectively.