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The Importance of the Number 10

In football, all eleven players are essential in their respective roles; the defense cannot effectively defend without the pressure applied by the attacking players and vice versa. Similarly, they both depend on the midfield to act as a bridge between the two. But, there’s a position, or you can more conveniently say, there’s a role, which has emerged as a special one as the football evolved over the years: the Trequartista or The Number 10.

The list of fantastic and legendary names who wore this prestigious number is immense. If you believe in a "best player in the world," he probably wore the number 10 shirt for his club and country.

Roberto Mancini claims his inspiration for the role comes from Zico, Platini, and Maradona (robertomancini.com).

From a number to an icon

In modern football, the number printed on the jerseys no longer illustrates the positional attributes of a player, but number 10 will always be reserved for the Trequartistas! Those who operate in the ‘final third’ of the pitch. They hold massive significance in any football team, as they have a versatility touch to their game. A number 10 roams freely just behind the attacking line but can also drop down to defense when needed. He’s usually the most creative player on the pitch. The number 10’s primary jobs vary from situation to situation. They can be a playmaker, feeding the attacking with magical through balls and accurate crosses. They can also be the sharpshooters of the ball, providing the extra attacking threat to the opponents!

Regarding Messi

Although Lionel Messi is not a pure trequartista, you can spot a perfect number 10 in his gameplay if you look closely. During the illustrious Guardiola Era at Barcelona, Messi used to act as a false 9, as he operated just behind the attacking line consisting of Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry or Pedro, and David Villa. Messi used to be a massive threat for any team because of his switching roles between a creative center of the team and the deadly finishing to score loads of goals.

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