Barcelona ’10’ Jersey Vacant For The First Time In 27 Years

The iconic number 10 digit has become synonymous with Barcelona, with many top players, most notably Lionel Messi, wearing it over the years.

Ansu Fati has worn the number in recent years, but will not do so this season. The 20-year-old loaned out his iconic shirt number to Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

Neither of Barcelona’s new signings has chosen to take 10.

Joao Cancelo will wear number 2, while Joao Felix will wear number 14. The number 10 will be vacant for the first half of the season.

History of The Iconic 10 Barcelona Shirt

Angel Cuellar, a Real Betis academy graduate, moved to the Nou Camp in 1995 and became the first Barcelona player to be officially assigned the No.10 shirt in La Liga. However, he endured a disastrous debut, suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury that kept him on the sidelines for just under six months. The forward scored two goals in 15 appearances in the second half of the season but then lost the No.10 shirt ahead of 1996-97. He spent a year with the No.11 before returning to Betis.

Jari Litmanen, a former player under Van Gaal at Ajax, linked up with the manager at Barcelona in the summer of 1999. He never really recaptured the form he had shown in the Eredivisie and was plagued by a series of injury problems at Barcelona.

Juan Roman Riquelme, once dubbed the ‘next Diego Maradona’, followed in his footsteps by leaving Boca Juniors for Barcelona in 2002. He struggled for consistency during his sole season at the Nou Camp and was deemed surplus to requirements following Ronaldinho’s arrival. He then rediscovered his best form with the Yellow Submarine and made the move permanent in 2005.

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Van Gaal left the club for Olympiacos in 1999. Giovanni, a former Brazil international, was initially overshadowed by compatriot Ronaldo but still produced some iconic moments, including three match-winners against Real Madrid.

Ansu Fati, a 20-year-old who has had some moments after inheriting Messi’s No.10 shirt, has had some moments but received limited starts. It’s looking increasingly likely that injuries will deny him reaching the frightening potential he first demonstrated when he exploded onto the scene a few years back.

Rivaldo, who had his best season on an individual level after wearing the No.11 shirt during his first three years at Barcelona, was handed the prestigious No.10 following Litmanen’s departure in 2000. He spent one more season at the Nou Camp but was released from his contract a year early following Van Gaal’s return to the dugout in 2002.

Ronaldinho, who rejected Manchester United and decided to sign for Barcelona in a £21million deal in 2003, transformed their fortunes, winning two league titles and the Champions League over the following five years. He entertained the fans with his skills and developed into one of the best players in the world, winning the Ballon d’Or award in 2005.

Lionel Messi later said that Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barca, saying that in the first year, he didn’t win anything but people fell in love with him. The trophies started coming and he made all those people happy.