10 the football magic number

The 10 in soccer has been the jersey of the most famous champions. Now it seems there is no longer a place for these players in teams, as the Paulo Dybala affair partly explains. We understand why 10 has been the magic number in soccer

10 is the number of those who distribute play and those who run the ball down the field. 10 is the number that in 1958 by number draw Pelé received to play and win his first World Cup at age 17. It is also the number of Maradona, incredible champion, who also scored with the hand of God. Valentino Mazzola was number 10 for Grande Torino, and Mazzola was Jose Altafini’s nickname early in his career. 10 was Gianni Rivera, the first Italian to win the Ballon d’Or, of which Leo Messi won 6 instead, also wearing the same number. Juventus has had many number 10s, absolute champions such as Omar Sivori Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero and Andrea Pirlo. The qualities of the 10 are those of someone who enlightens and leads the team, the 10 is as bold as he is peremptory in his actions and shows the characteristics that Gianni Brera masterfully described when talking about one of them and that is Giuseppe Meazza (winner of the World Cup with the Italian national team in 1934 and 1938):

“Great players already existed in the world, perhaps tougher and more continuous than him, however, it did not seem to us that we could go beyond his sudden inventions, the brilliant shots, the peremptory and yet never mocking dribbles, the lonely escapes toward his lost victim of all time, the opposing goalkeeper.”[1]

The 10 bears upon himself, more than the others, the responsibility of the team; he represents its soul, its spirit. When the 10 isolates himself, the team suffers dramatically, and loses the one who everyone believes is capable of solving the game or a moment of difficulty with one of his inventions whether it be a shot, a free kick, a smarcating pass for the striker or a dribble. The 10 does not chase opponents and knows that it is “better to let the ball run, she does not sweat” (Roberto Baggio), for him “soccer is music, dance and harmony and there is nothing more cheerful than the bouncing ball” (Pelé). Besides, the 10 recognize each other, respecting each other like members of a club reserved for a few, and they know how indispensable their presence is to soccer, as Francesco Totti says of Diego Armando Maradona:

“It’s soccer, it’s the ball, like his face is on that spinning ball. What he did with the ball no one has ever done and no one ever will. He did extraordinary things, everything there was to do he did. I got to know him, and it moves me to see the picture of the two of us hugging.”

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