The famous number 10 jersey in sports is usually assigned to the best player in the team. These are the players who can single-handedly win you matches and such is their influence on their teams, that if they have a bad day, so does their team.
Football is the sport that popularized the use of jersey numbers as much more than just a number. And, the number 10 jersey is perhaps the most prestigious jersey numbers most players only dream of wearing.
While cricket doesn’t have a custom of numbering shirts, there are certain players who demand the magnanimity associated with the number 10 jersey. The God of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is arguably the best batsman in the history of the sport. He has scored the highest number of runs across all formats of the game and his landmark record, of scoring a century of centuries is hard to be surpassed anytime soon. If anyone in cricket demands the right to don the famous number 10 jersey, it has to be Sachin Tendulkar.
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From the best batsman in the history of cricket, let’s come to the best player in the history of football; Lionel Messi needs no introduction. 5 time best player of the year, the Argentine has been influential in Barcelona’s rise to the top of European football. The number 10 jersey in sports is usually donned by the best player in the team, and no matter which team Messi plays for, he will always be the best. Following his wonder goal against Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey, one Spanish commentator perfectly summed up why Messi is the best player to have ever worn the number 10 jersey in football. He said, “Say thanks to your mothers that she gave birth to you so that you can see Lionel Messi live."
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Messi is often criticized for not being an influential figure in his national side, Argentina. However, Maradona was a savior for both his country and the clubs he played for in his illustrious career. His footwork and ball control is second to none, and he also has to his name, the goal of the century which he scored against England in 1986. In fact, after he left Napoli, the club retired the number 10 jersey as a symbolic meaning that there will never be another like Maradona.
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The footballer who is considered to be the first superstar of the game, there is hardly anything left to say about the footballing great. A legend of his country, Brazil, of his football club, Santos and of the beautiful game, it was due to Pele’s magic that an entire generation started watching football. Michel Platini once said about Pele, “To play like Pele is to play like God," and that perfectly sums up the player he was. He wore the number 10 jersey for both club and country.
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While Zidane didn’t have a fairytale ending to his illustrious football career after he was sent off in the final of the FIFA World Cup in 2006, he continues to be an enigma of modern football. The best attacking-midfielder of all time, Zizou, was a charismatic player and had the perfect combination of flair and aggression. His effective trickery and mastery on the ball made him an influential figure in France’s national team and Real Madrid.
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So, there you have it, the best players to wear the number 10 jersey. Do you think we missed someone? Let us know in the comments below.