Many of the most magical footballers in the modern game have worn the number 10 jersey for club and country.
Maradona & Messi have done it for Argentina and their fierce South American rivals Brazil boast a pretty special collection of 10s too. Let's start with the great Pelé.
🪨 Edson Arantes do Nascimento (aka Pelé)
Almost automatically, debates rage on about the validity of the mind-boggling goal statistics that have been credited to Pelé's career for Santos, but there can be no debate around his record at the highest level for his country. Three World Cups for the Seleção - nobody has ever won more than two, aside from Pelé of course.
One of the most gifted playmakers of his generation, elegant left-footer Rivaldo was a winner of the big three trophies that any Brazilian footballer craves - World Cup, Copa América and Champions League. He was spellbindingly brilliant for AC Milan, Barcelona and especially Brazil.
The human embodiment of joga bonito. 'Dinho played football with an intoxicating smile on his face, all the while bamboozling defenders and bewitching supporters who couldn't help but get out of their seats when one of the most flamboyant showmen in history was in the mood to entertain.
In 2005, nobody on Planet Earth could touch him.
Ronaldinho in his prime was unstoppable... pic.twitter.com/krRmeVT4K8— 90s Football (@90sfootball) May 15, 2021
2007 Ballon d'Or winner Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, aka Kaká, was a graceful glider on the pitch whose height helped him breeze past defenders with subtle power and ease. Injuries meant that his big-money move to Real Madrid wasn't as glorious as it should have been, but he was the best player in the world at AC Milan and a joy to watch.
🔮 Neymar Jr
PSG's superstar world-record signing has split footballing opinion around the world since he rose to the top of the game for Barcelona. Too often the attention has turned to his histrionics and unsavoury antics when really the spotlight should be on his twinkle-toed trickery and otherworldly dribbling skills and exceptional balance.
Neymar is more than just his tricks, though, the 29-year-old possesses an ice-cold clinical edge in the final third that sets him apart from most players in world football. Neymar has become a prolific goal-machine, all the while keeping hold of the razzle-dazzle that saw him rise to prominence.
Not many players in history have scored in Copa Libertadores and Champions League final wins. In fact, only one player has ever done it, and his name is Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior.
🥇 All-time leading Brazilian goal-scorer in the #UCL (41).— Futaa.com (@Futaacom) May 20, 2021
😳 First and only man to score in Copa Libertadores & #UCLfinal wins.
🇧🇷 64 goals for Brazil, only Pelé has more (77).
🥅 Won the Puskás award in 2011.
💶 Most expensive footballer in history - €222m from Barça to PSG. pic.twitter.com/E2K96f1P2g
Say what you want about Neymar, but the 29-year-old gets tongues wagging every time he steps out onto a football pitch.
There can be little debate or argument that the number 10 jersey occupies a special place in the hearts of all those who love our beautiful game.