Iconic Kits: FC Barcelona No.10

We’re taking a trip down good old Memory Lane as we look back at some of the most iconic football kits in the history of ‘the beautiful game’. This week, we’re putting the infamous Barcelona No.10 strip well and truly under the microscope.

Lionel Messi

Image:news.nike.com

Every football fan knows it. Every opposition defender fears it. That’s right- it can only be the Barcelona No.10 strip.

For decades, the Nou Camp has been graced by some of the greatest footballers to ever play the ‘beautiful game.’ With their flamboyant skills, colossal fanbase and expansive style of play, there’s really little wonder as to why the biggest players on the planet are all so desperate to play for the Catalan club.

Maradona. Rivaldo. Messi. These are the sort of high-calibre players Barcelona have become accustomed to down the years, as the Catalans continue to offer the only real resistance to complete Los Blancos dominance in La Liga.

And it just so happens that these iconic, extravagant superstars have all had one very important thing in common: the No.10 Blaugrana kit.

You can hardly walk down the street in the city of Barcelona without seeing a young fan showing off that famous shirt- the only question is which superstar name they have emblazoned on the back. Lionel Messi is obviously the most popular choice, but this Barcelona phenomenon can be traced back as far as the early 80’s, when another Argentine superstar was setting the world alight at the Nou Camp. 

Diego Maradona signed for Barcelona back in 1982, and we all know that the little magician is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. By donning the No.10 strip at the Nou Camp, it wasn’t long until that particular strip became recognised across the globe, as Maradona’s scintillating performances even earned him a standing ovation at the Bernabeu.

His unbelievable technique and skill with a football made the No.10 shirt a daunting thing to try and fill, despite the fact that Barcelona weren’t able to clinch a La Liga title in his time there. But it wasn’t until the 1993 signing of Romario (almost 10 years after Maradona had gone to Napoli), that the No.10 shirt came back into prominence.

With 30 goals in 33 games, Romario helped the Catalans to the La Liga title in his first season, while also signalling the beginning of a love affair between Barcelona and Brazilian attackers.

It was Rivaldo that continued, and truly encapsulated, said affair when he joined the Catalan club in 1997. The Brazilian superstar was at the height of his powers during his time at Barcelona, claiming two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and even the 1999 FIFA Player of the Year Award.

“Rivaldo” is a name that every Barca fan will always remember, going down in their history as one of the greatest players to ever bare the Blaugrana stripes- let alone the greatest No.10.

But, whilst Rivaldo continued to set the world alight at the Nou Camp, it’s fair to say that the rest of the squad just wasn’t up to his standard, and so Barca never really experienced European dominance until the arrival of another iconic Brazilian: Ronaldinho.

The Brazilian with the big smile wasted no time at all in wowing La Liga with his unbelievable skill and adventurous style of play. Ronaldinho ushered in the true era of Barcelona dominance, picking up their first La Liga title in 6 years and triumphing in the Champions League for the first time in well over a decade.

It was during this time that Brazil also claimed the World Cup (who could forget that Ronaldinho free-kick against England?), as the Brazilian magician firmly established himself as one of the greatest players in Barcelona history- and the toothiest.

With Ronaldinho’s artistry and extravagance, Barcelona became the force they still are today: and at the heart of it all was that famous No.10 shirt.

But, sadly for the Brazilian, his achievements will forever be eclipsed by the man that followed him into that No.10 strip- as will the achievements of all those true greats that came before him.

Lionel Messi is the greatest football player in history. You know it. I know it. We just might as well sit down and admit it.

Breaking records as easy as wind (yep, we went there), Messi has ensured that the Barcelona No.10 will always be in the limelight- and may God help the man who has to fill those incredibly quick and agile shoes.

Starting his Barcelona career way back in 2003 as a 16-year-old with a dream, Messi has gone on to conquer absolutely everything in club football. With nearly as many goals as he has appearances, the Argentine superstar has claimed 8 La Liga titles, 5 Copa del Rey’s and 4 Champions League trophies. He’s won so many trophies and accolades, that just reading through them makes us feel as though we’re reciting the “12 Days of Christmas.”

Messi is the cream on top of what was already a very delicious-looking cake, and we simply can’t imagine any other player (let alone another Barca player) ever mirroring those achievements in a No.10 shirt.

So what do you reckon? Fancy one of those classic FC Barcelona football kits and emulating your heroes? No matter whether you’re a Messi, Rivaldo or even a Riquelme fan, FOOTY.COM compare prices to find you the best deal out there.

Chris is a huge Manchester United fan and an avid Draft Fantasy Football player.