Some­one did­n’t live up to the mag­ic num­bers on the back.

16 year old Lamin Yamal — the main open­ing of the foot­ball sea­son. The teenag­er unex­pect­ed­ly broke into the Barcelona team and instant­ly showed lead­er­ship qual­i­ties: in 38 match­es in all tour­na­ments he scored 6+7 — only the expe­ri­enced Ilkay Gun­do­gan played more match­es (41), and only four part­ners scored more effec­tive actions. In Yamal they see a new leader for many years and, accord­ing to rumors, next sea­son they are ready to award the mag­i­cal num­ber 10, under which Lionel Mes­si played for 13 sea­sons. This sto­ry may become unique — no one in mod­ern his­to­ry has received an icon­ic num­ber in a top club at the age of 16. Let us recall oth­er cas­es where recent teenagers achieved such recog­ni­tion.

7 future Barcelona stars. Some of them are already thun­der­ing through­out Europe

Kylian Mbappe, got a “ten” at 18 years old

The French­man showed his tal­ent at a very young age — in the 2016/17 sea­son he thun­dered through­out Europe with six goals in the Cham­pi­ons League play­offs. Then the Mona­co strik­er was only 18 years old, and he played under num­ber nine. In the sum­mer of 2017, the club gave Kylian a “ten”, but he played only one match with it and left for PSG, where he was giv­en the 29th, which has now turned into the sev­enth. But in the French nation­al team, Mbappe has been wear­ing spe­cial num­bers since the age of 18 and is the clear leader of the team — in 75 games he scored a fiery 46+30 and has already made his way to third place in the list of the best scor­ers of the “tri­col­ors” in his­to­ry.

Barça are being dragged down by young­sters at the most impor­tant stage of the sea­son. Sev­er­al careers are already in jeop­ardy due to exces­sive work­loads

Ansu Fati, got a “ten” at the age of 18

The Spaniard is Barcelon­a’s lat­est num­ber 10, and the start of his career at the club is rem­i­nis­cent of Yamal’s cur­rent suc­cess­es. Ansu made his debut in La Liga at 17, quick­ly record­ed his first goals and assists, con­fi­dent­ly posi­tioned him­self in the rota­tion of the giants and broke a bunch of records with the pre­fix “youngest author”: goals in the Cham­pi­ons League, goals at Camp Nou, goals in the his­to­ry of Barcelona , a goal in the cla­si­co, a goal for the Span­ish nation­al team, a dou­ble in La Liga.

Before the 2021/22 sea­son, Barça’s third, the 19-year-old winger was giv­en the num­ber 10 num­ber, which was vacat­ed after the depar­ture of Leo Mes­si. True, Fati did not jus­ti­fy his sta­tus as a “ten” — due to injuries, he missed huge chunks of time and had less and less influ­ence on the blue garnet’s game. The 21-year-old young­ster’s worst injury was a torn menis­cus, which kept him out for almost a year. Ansu is gen­er­al­ly spend­ing the cur­rent cam­paign on loan at Brighton, where he has already been ill for almost three months in total and has not shown him­self to be any­thing spe­cial. It is sig­nif­i­cant that even tak­ing into account the fact that Fati will prob­a­bly return to Barcelona in the sum­mer, they no longer count on him as the leader of the team, and they are going to give his “ten” to a new super tal­ent.

Lionel Mes­si.
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Lionel Messi, received a “ten” at 21

The leg­endary Argen­tine received Barcelon­a’s num­ber 10 at the age of 21 and nev­er changed the num­bers on his shirt. By that time, Mes­si had already been involved in the Cata­lan team for four sea­sons and grad­u­al­ly trans­formed into a key play­er, which he remained at the club for many years. With the “ten” he won the World Cup, sev­en Gold­en Balls and a moun­tain of oth­er tro­phies and per­son­al awards. Lionel is one of the great­est foot­ballers to wear num­ber 10, and it is also thanks to him that these num­bers on the uni­form have a mag­i­cal mean­ing.

1470 days in a hos­pi­tal bed. He was called the main tal­ent of Eng­land, but at 29 years old no club needs him

Jack Wilshere, got a “ten” at 20

The mid­field­er’s tal­ent could have been enough to earn him the sta­tus of one of the best Eng­lish mid­field­ers in his­to­ry, but as a result, Jack end­ed his career at the age of 30. Wilshere made his debut for Arse­nal at just 16 years old, became a starter at 18, and was giv­en the num­ber 10 num­ber at 20. It was only after receiv­ing the enchant­ed num­bers that the foot­ball player’s career began to choke — injuries began to destroy the young prospect’s body. Through­out his entire career in the Pre­mier League, the 2010 sea­son remains the record for play­ing min­utes (2650).

The frag­ile Wilshere missed entire sea­sons or only appeared on the field a hand­ful of times. Most of the Eng­lish­man’s jour­ney was spent in the hos­pi­tal, which is why he did not real­ize his gigan­tic poten­tial. “Jack’s case is not about indi­vid­ual match­es at the top lev­el. He main­tained an incred­i­ble stan­dard over the long haul — and this at such a young age. “He had every­thing to become a world-class star,” said Bolton coach Owen Coyle, who worked with the 17-year-old mid­field­er.

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Robinho, got a 10 at 21

The tal­ent­ed Brazil­ian land­ed at Real Madrid at the age of 21, where he imme­di­ate­ly received num­ber 10. More­over, before Madrid, the strik­er played only in the Brazil­ian San­tos, and scored his first goal for the nation­al team just a few months before mov­ing to Europe. Robin­ho is unlike­ly to have great­ly let down the Blan­cos fans, but he cer­tain­ly did not 100% visu­al­ize the expec­ta­tions from the trans­fer, because he spent only three sea­sons at the San­ti­a­go Bern­abeu. Dur­ing this time, he won the Span­ish Cham­pi­onship twice, did not fall out of the main com­pe­ti­tion and shot a respectable 35+27 in all tour­na­ments.

The fur­ther career of the “ex-ten” of Madrid smooth­ly flowed down­wards: a year and a half in “Man City” (he also played there under num­ber 10), absence from “San­tos”, four years in “Milan” and the final depar­ture from big Euro­pean foot­ball. Robin­ho end­ed up tour­ing Brazil, Chi­na and Turkey. After being trans­ferred to Real Madrid at a young age, more was clear­ly expect­ed from the man Pele called his heir.

Robin­ho sen­tenced to 9 years in prison for rape in Italy. But he will serve his sen­tence in Brazil

Michael Owen, got a “ten” at 18

The Liv­er­pool grad­u­ate already at the age of 18 put on the num­ber 10 of his native team and wore it until he left for Real in the sum­mer of 2004. Over the course of sev­en years at Anfield, Owen jus­ti­fied the “ten” — only once he scored less than 16 times in a sea­son in the Pre­mier League and in 2001 even won the Bal­lon d’Or. The for­ward spent only a year in Madrid: he accu­mu­lat­ed good sta­tis­tics (16+4), but was not con­sid­ered the main strik­er and quick­ly left for New­cas­tle. In his new place, Michael said good­bye to the top lev­el — he lost a lot in his skills after a cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment rup­ture and after sev­er­al years of wan­der­ing around Eng­lish clubs, he grad­u­at­ed at 33 years old.

Michael Owen: “Becom­ing a coach? No!”

Emile Smith-Rowe, got a 10 at 21

Anoth­er Eng­lish­man whose career has stalled due to injury, although Arse­nal’s num­ber 10 is still young (23 years old). Emil received a “ten” at 21 — before the 2021/22 sea­son, the best per­for­mance of the young man. The attack­ing mid­field­er played 37 match­es in all tour­na­ments, scored 13 (11+2) goals in them — he seemed like a ris­ing star and a main play­er for the years to come. But now Smith-Rowe is remem­bered less and less: injuries threw him out of the start­ing line­up in the next cam­paign — he nev­er regained his place among the top 11 and even stopped strength­en­ing the team from the bench. This sea­son, the Gun­ners’ grad­u­ate has played a measly 357 min­utes in all com­pe­ti­tions, com­pared to 241 last year.

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Adriano, got a “ten” at 22 years old

The Brazil­ian end­ed up at Inter at just 19 years old, but estab­lished him­self in the team only two and a half years lat­er — all this time he adapt­ed to Serie A at Fiorenti­na and Par­ma. At almost 22, they bet on Adri­ano as a star: they award­ed him the 10th num­ber and began to expect goals. At first, the Brazil­ian did well, but in the 2007/08 sea­son he dis­ap­peared from the life of the team and even went on loan to his home­land in the win­ter. In 2009, he dis­ap­peared from San Siro for good and nev­er resur­faced at the top lev­el, retir­ing in 2016. The main rea­son for this sharp decline is alco­hol.

“After my father died, I fell into a depres­sion that could only be dealt with through drink­ing. I only felt hap­py when I drank, so I drank inces­sant­ly. I drank every­thing I could get my hands on: wine, whiskey, beer. I came to train­ing drunk. I didn’t sleep so as not to be late for train­ing, but I arrived at the base in an inde­cent state. They sent me to sleep in one of the premis­es of the base, and the jour­nal­ists were told that Adri­ano had a mus­cle injury,” the Brazil­ian recalled.

“In nine days, my heav­en­ly life turned into hell.” Adri­ano’s rev­e­la­tions

Francesco Totti, got a “ten” at 20

The Ital­ian ded­i­cat­ed his entire career to Roma and can­on­ized num­ber 10 for all Wolves fans. Cesco scored for Roma in 23 Serie A sea­sons, and entered the field in 25. From the age of 20, Glad­i­a­tor played under the “ten”, which, after the end of Totti’s career, still remains with­out an own­er — it was assigned to him. Despite the small num­ber of tro­phies (one cham­pi­onship, two Cups and an Ital­ian Super Cup), the sym­bol of the Romans can def­i­nite­ly be con­sid­ered one of the most leg­endary own­ers of num­ber 10.

Francesco Tot­ti.
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Tomasz Rosicky, got a “ten” at the age of 20

Lit­tle Mozart land­ed in Dort­mund at the age of 20 and instant­ly received the 10th num­ber of the local Borus­sia. At the same time, the Czech spent only a year and a half at the base of Spar­ta, but his tal­ent allowed him to quick­ly find him­self in a top club, which reward­ed him with spe­cial treat­ment. Rosicky jus­ti­fied the trust of Dort­mund fans — in five and a half sea­sons he scored 24+47 in all tour­na­ments and reg­u­lar­ly charmed view­ers with uncon­ven­tion­al deci­sions.

Tomas also charmed the pro­fes­sor of com­bi­na­tion play Arsene Wenger, who bought him in the sum­mer of 2006. Rosicky spent 10 years in Lon­don, but at the end of this peri­od he prac­ti­cal­ly did not play — a huge num­ber of injuries pre­vent­ed him from becom­ing a real leader of the Gun­ners. At the same time, the healthy Czech reg­u­lar­ly received play­ing time and was exact­ly at Arsenal’s lev­el. On Decem­ber 20, 2017, almost imme­di­ate­ly after leav­ing the Pre­mier League, Lit­tle Mozart end­ed his career — even his return to Spar­ta did not allow him to res­ur­rect.