Why do most soccer players choose number 10?

Why do most soccer players choose number 10?

The Legacy of Number 10 in Soccer

Ah, the magical 'Number 10'. It's a number that's long been considered the epitome of greatness in the realm of soccer. Weekend soccer sessions would often involve skirmishes as we rallied over who got to be 'Number 10'. As the dust settled, the kid who managed to snag the number had a triumphant smile plastered over his face, and the rest of us looked on with gaping envy and respect. I’ll never forget when I claimed it during a hotly contested backyard match. It was a tiny victory, but in my child mind it meant everything.

The number '10' was an indication of prestige and respect even on the professional stage. From soccer greats like Pele, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi to Zinedine Zidane, the allure of the 'Number 10' remains unparalleled in soccer's rich history. But what's the fuss all about? What makes the number 10 so special? Today, we're going to delve into why most soccer players aspire to wear this legendary number on their backs.

Symbolism of the Number 10 in Soccer

In soccer, the 'Number 10' has always embodied greatness, respect, and inherent skill. Traditionally, the player wearing number 10 was deemed the team's most skillful, creative playmaker. This person would be at the heart of the action, leading attacks, cleverly threading passes, and often scoring match-winning goals.

From the mid-twentieth century, when uniform numbers became a thing, the player wearing the 'Number 10' jersey was typically the team’s main attacking midfielder. Their role was to transition and control the team's play from the defensive thirds to the attacking thirds. From creating chances to scoring goals, they were the centerpiece of the team.

The Soccer Legends that Cemented the 'Number 10'

Several soccer legends have added to the glorious legacy of the 'Number 10'. One of the most iconic 'Number 10s', Pele, left an indelible mark on soccer. His tally of 1281 goals in 1363 games speaks for itself. My dad still gushes about the time he saw Pele gracefully carry the game on his shoulders in the 1970 World Cup. Those are stories I grew up hearing, further cementing my love for soccer and the holiness of the 'Number 10'.

In more recent times, Lionel Messi and Neymar, both soccer geniuses in their own right, have proudly donned the 'Number 10' jersey. Their unrivalled skills and stunning goals have only elevated the stature of the 'Number 10' to new heights.

A Psychological Edge?

Can wearing a particular number on your jersey provide a psychological edge? Some research suggests that it just might. Players wearing 'Number 10' may be perceived as more skillful, thereby enjoying greater respect from teammates and opponents alike.

Once during my high school soccer days, our rival school's 'Number 10' was a small, wiry guy, who didn't seem too threatening at first glance. But the moment he touched the ball, the aura of the 'Number 10' came alive. Our team gave him a lot more respect and space than his slight figure warranted. This is just an anecdote from my days of competitive sports, but it encapsulates the aura of the 'Number 10'.

The Heavy Weight of Expectation

While the 'Number 10' carries a lot of prestige, it also comes with its own set of challenges. The expectations are sky-high. When you're the 'Number 10', you're expected to deliver, consistently and under immense pressure. The 'Number 10' is the beacon of hope for the fans, the go-to player in dire situations.

The trials and tribulations that come with the coveted 'Number 10' remind me of my senior year. In the all-important game before the championship, I was given the honor to wear the 'Number 10'. As much as I was over the moon about it, I could also feel the weight of the expectations. The game ended up being one of the most stressful, yet rewarding experiences of my soccer career!

The Evolution of 'Number 10' in Modern Soccer

As soccer tactics have evolved, so has the traditional concept of the 'Number 10'. Modern 'Number 10s' are now employed deeper into midfield, or into wider areas, necessitating a balance of offensive creativity, solid defensive work, and tireless work-rate. Players like Kevin De Bruyne and Luka Modrić show how the 'Number 10' role has transitioned from being solely offensively focused.

In the end, whether players don the 'Number 10' for its historical significance, for its psychological edge, or simply because it was handed down to them is subjective. But there's no denying the allure of 'Number 10': A number that does justice to soccer's flair, creativity, and brilliance.