Ansu Fati is the latest player to inherit the Number 10 shirt at Barcelona, and the players father has even gone to the club’s store to buy a lot of his son’s shirts.
But the question is now to be asked if the player should have been given the number arguably if he will fit the legendary statue that comes with the Shirt. well Did Ansu Fati show enough to be handed the No.10? And he’s now coming back after a 10-month injury-enforced absence. obviously the form he’ll be able to find cannot be predicted.
Patience is needed with Ansu Fati. Ronald Koeman has already said as much ahead of the player’s return. They’ll take things slow, without rushing him and without risking a relapse.
Seven players have worn the shirt since La Liga introduced fixed squad numbers and, sorry Ansu, but we’re going to predict Fati might struggle to replicate the success of his predecessor.
We have done our research and ranked the seven players from worst to best who were privileged to don this shirt.
7. Angel Cuellar
A Real Betis academy graduate, Cuellar moved to the Nou Camp in 1995 and became the first Barcelona player to be officially assigned the No.10 shirt in La Liga.
But 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.
6. Jari Litmanen
Having played under Van Gaal at Ajax, Litmanen 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 also plagued by a series of injury problems at Barcelona.
“You have to adapt to a new culture when you move to a different club,” Van Gaal would later say of Litmanen. “Not every player is able to do that.”
The former Finland international lost the No.10 shirt at the end of his first season and then joined Liverpool on a free transfer in January 2001.
5. Juan Roman Riquelme
Once dubbed the ‘next Diego Maradona’, Riquelme followed in his footsteps by leaving Boca Juniors for Barcelona in 2002.
The former Argentina international arrived amid high expectations, only for Van Gaal to reveal that he had been forced upon him as a “political signing” before using the natural-born No.10 as a winger.
He struggled for consistency during his sole season at the Nou Camp and was deemed surplus to requirements following Ronaldinho’s arrival, joining Villarreal on a two-year loan deal.
Riquelme then rediscovered his best form with the Yellow Submarine and made the move permanent in 2005.
Not the midfielder who later played for Manchester City and Hull City, Giovanni was one of Bobby Robson’s first Barcelona signings in 1996.
The former Brazil international was initially overshadowed by compatriot Ronaldo but still produced some iconic moments, including three match-winners against Real Madrid.
Things turned sour, as it did for many over the years, once Van Gaal took over, and he left the club for Olympiacos in 1999.
“Van Gaal is the Hitler of the Brazilian players; he is arrogant, proud and has a problem,” Giovanni said in 2010. “My life with him was horrible, the Brazilians did not want him, he put me down and also fought with Rivaldo and Sonny Anderson. He always gave us the excuse that we were not training well.
“I know that he must have some trauma, he has no idea of football, does not know anything, in the time I was with him he always did the same training, his type is sick, he’s crazy.”
After wearing the No.11 shirt during his first three years at Barcelona, Rivaldo was then handed the prestigious No.10 following Litmanen’s departure in 2000.
The attacking midfielder then had his best season on an individual level, scoring 36 goals, including a stunning hat-trick against Valencia that helped Barcelona clinch Champions League qualification.
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.
After stellar performance with the Paris Saint-Germain, Ronaldinho rejected Manchester United and decided to sign for Barcelona in a $29m equivalent to £21million deal in 2003.
The Brazilian arrived at a club that had just finished sixth in La Liga and transformed their fortunes, winning two league titles and the Champions League over the following five years.
He entertained the fans with his skills and also developed into one of the best players in the world, winning the Ballon d’Or award in 2005.
But his infamous love of partying eventually took its toll and Pep Guardiola made the brave decision to sell the forward to AC Milan in 2008.
“Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barca,” Lionel Messi later said. “It was a bad time, and the change that came about with his arrival was amazing.
“In the first year, he didn’t win anything, but people fell in love with him. Then the trophies started coming and he made all those people happy. Barca should always be grateful for everything he did.”
1. Lionel Messi
But as they say the rest is history, Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s all time goal-scorer and sixth time Ballon d’Or all of which he bagged at his boyhood Club before he left for PSG this summer.
“Before leaving the club [Ronaldinho] was coming off a few months where he was thinking about things,” Messi told Barca TV in 2015.
“He had it in his mind that he was leaving and he told me to have his number. I took it without looking at what he had done with the shirt. If I did, I would not have taken it.”
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