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Why Barcelona Are Unable To Retire Lionel Messi's No.10 Shirt

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Why Barcelona Are Unable To Retire Lionel Messi's No.10 Shirt

Barcelona are unable to retire Lionel Messi's iconic No.10 despite calls to do so - because of La Liga's rules.

Messi has ended a glittering 21-year association with the club, where he scored an insane 672 goals and won a ridiculous 35 honours.

He's easily the greatest player ever to play for Barcelona and yet the Catalan outfit cannot honour his achievements in the way many would like.

The Spanish FA have specific rules when it comes to shirt numbers in La Liga, with goalkeepers having to wear 1, 13 or 25.


Their regulations also state that their 25-man squads must the numbers 1 to 25 every season - meaning that Barcelona retiring the No.10 would effectively give up a permanent first-team squad place.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Barca are struggling to register players as it is due to their financial problems and cannot afford to lose a spot in their squad.

For this reason, the retiring of shirt numbers in Spain is not particularly popular but there a few notable cases.


Barcelona's rivals Espanyol retired the No.21 following the sad passing of former player Dani Jarque, who died of a heart attack aged 26 - one month after being named captain.

In 2019, Extremadura replicated that gesture when former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Villarreal star Jose Antonio Reyes died in a car attack. The No.19 was retired in his honour.

The No.10 is currently vacant at Barcelona and Blaugrana legend Ronald de Boer is urging the club to give it to a youngster who aspires to be "as good as Messi."



Speaking to talkSPORT, De Boer said: "We had it with Johan Cruyff No 14 [at Ajax], of course.

"In another way, no, you have to always dream to be just as good as Messi. I think the No 10 must stay alive, not to say okay we'll put it some place and nobody's going to touch it.

"I mean, Messi's Messi. [...] If I think about Messi, it's about his football skills, so not his shirt. Try to give it to a youngster who wants to be just as good as Messi."


New Barca signings Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero have been given the No.9 and No.19 shirts respectively ahead of the new La Liga season.

Topics: Paris Saint-Germain, Football, Barcelona, PSG, Lionel Messi

Josh Lawless
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