To some players a number on the back of their kit is simply that; just a number. For many others though there’s significance behind the selection.
In Spain, Barcelona recently saw one of its all-time greats leave the club after a financial struggle led Lionel Messi away from the Camp Nou.
For over 12 years, Messi donned the famous No. 10 kit for Barcelona, a number previously held by other club legends like Ronaldinho, Diego Maradona, Pep Guardiola and Hristo Stoichkov.
On Wednesday, Barcelona handed the number over to its new No. 10, Ansu Fati. The 18-year-old attacker has shown glimpses of brilliance early in his career, but after suffering a serious knee injury last season it’s no guarantee that he’ll be the same player immediately.
When Messi departed Barcelona for a new chapter at Paris Saint-Germain a logical question arose; why not retire his number?
Arguably one of the greatest to ever play the game, Messi meant more to Barcelona than most players could possibly bring value at any other club. His accolades are endless. Meanwhile, Messi was fully ingrained in the Barca culture for so long that he felt like a true native of the city by the time his journey came to an end.