Have you ever watched a football game and said, wow, this bloke is fantastic? Well, usually, that is the player with the number 10 on his back.
For the purposes of our list, we’ve focused on the most famous number 10 soccer players of the 21st century.
Keep on reading and find out!
The History of the Number 10 in Soccer
Back in the day, shirt numbers were assigned to players based on their position on the field, and the number 10 jersey usually belonged to forwards or an advanced and creative midfielder. These players were the ones who sparked with creativity and scored most of the goals for their teams.
Specifically, the number 10 in soccer has been worn by some of the biggest football legends like Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, and Baggio. These are just some of the players that left a massive mark on football and made the famous number 10 kit carry more weight than all of the other numbers on the team.
Although the traditional numerical system ended at the beginning of the ’90s, teams continued to reserve the number 10 kit for players that made a difference on the pitch. Nowadays, number 10 football players are the ones that fans expect the most from—there is a lot of history attached to the number and those who wear it rightfully deserve the respect of their peers and supporters.
Ten Most Famous Number 10 Soccer Players
Dennis Bergkamp is a former Dutch professional football player who spent most of his career in the Premier League.
This Dutch international got his start in Ajax, scoring an impressive 103 goals for the club, then moved to Inter Milan before finally ending up in Arsenal, where he became one of the most crucial soccer players that wear the number 10 in the club’s history.
Dennis Bergkamp left quite a mark on the most known London football club. He was part of the “Invincibles,” the only Premier League team in history to win the competition without losing a single game along the way. His partnership with Thierry Henry was vital to the “Invincibles,” as these two were a force to be reckoned with for any defence team. In fact, this Dutch player was so important to the club that the Gunners placed a Denis Bergkamp statue right in front of the Emirates Stadium in 2014.
During his time at Arsenal, he scored 87 times, but the most famous Denis Bergkamp goal has to be the one against Newcastle, which was one of the iconic sporting moments and later voted as the best Premier League goal of all time.
When it comes to achievements, Bergkamp has helped Arsenal win three Premier League titles and four FA Cup trophies. On top of that, he was recently introduced to the Premier League Hall of Fame and is the only Dutch player to receive the honour of getting into the English Football Hall of Fame.
Like many Croatian internationals that made it in football, this Zadar-born player started off in Dinamo Zagreb. Then Luka Modric joined Spurs before making the transfer of his career to the Spanish football giant Real Madrid in 2012.
Although he did struggle a little to get used to La Liga football, today, a decade later, Luka Modric’s stats speak for themselves. He now has two La Liga trophies, one Spanish Cup trophy and four Champions League medals. He also played a crucial part in Real Madrid winning the Champions League three consecutive times from 2015-16 to 2017-18 (which is why Real Madrid is known as one of the most hated football clubs).
On an international level, he recently became Croatia’s most-capped player and is one of the key figures in Croatian football in the last decade. Luka Modric led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, where they ended up losing 4-2 to France, the ultimate winner of the tournament. Later that year, Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or, beating both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the award.
Currently, the 35-year-old Croatian international is a Real Madrid player and will remain as such until 2022, as he just renewed his contract. He has shared the pitch with some of the biggest names in soccer of the century during his career, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Ivan Rakitic, and many many more.
Sergio Aguero was born in Argentina in 1988. He started his career in Independiente, becoming the youngest player to take part in the Argentine Primera División (he was just 15 years old). In 2006 he joined Atletico Madrid for the sum of €20 million, breaking the club’s transfer fee record.
During his ten years in one of the most successful English football clubs, Man City, he scored 184 goals winning the Golden Boot in the Premier League back in 2014/15. To this day, Sergio Aguero and his Premier League goals have not been beaten—his 184 goals are the most scored by a player for a single club in that competition. Aguero is also the fourth all-time Premier League scorer and the highest non-English scorer in that competition.
His shelves are stacked with awards as he is a five-time Premier League winner, six-time English League Cup winner, and so much more. The only trophy missing is the one from the Champions League, and although he did come close this year, Man City sadly lost the final to Chelsea.
Sergio Aguero’s contract with Man City ended on June 30, 2021. Despite interest from London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea, Aguero will spend the next season at Barcelona, where he will be reunited with his long-time best friend and fellow number 10 player, Lionel Messi.
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Harry Kane is one of the most famous football players with the number 10 and he ranks among the best EPL players right now.
An interesting fact about this player is that he started his youth career at Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur’s biggest rival. However, at the beginning of his senior career, Spurs were lending him to Norwich and Leicester City until 2013, when Andre-Villas-Boas, who was Spurs manager at the time, decided to make Harry Kane their number one forward. What a decision that was, as since then, Harry Kane stats have been off the charts.
Kane became the second-fastest player in Premier League history to reach 100 goals and the third player to win the Golden Boot three times. Harry Kane has 166 Premier League goals so far, and this season he had 23 goals and 14 assists, ending up with awards both for the most goals scored and the most assists in the Premier League.
Although he has picked up many individual awards, the only thing missing in his career are team trophies.
This might change in the near future, as many say that Harry Kane has outgrown his current team. Even though Harry Kane has a contract with Spurs until 2024, he has already expressed interest in leaving the club. And now, with both Manchester clubs and Chelsea being interested, a transfer is highly likely.
How could we list the most famous number 10 soccer players and not mention the man who played the game with a constant smile on his face?
Ronaldinho made his career debut in 1998 in Gremio, Brazil, and from there, he continued playing for some of the biggest European clubs, including Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona and Milan.
Even though he played for multiple teams throughout his career, Ronaldinho recorded his best stats at Barcelona. Not only that, but he was also one of the players to give Barcelona a specific kind of magic and help make it the club it is today. His performance and playing style even got him a standing ovation from the fans of the opposing team when Barcelona played their biggest rivals, Real Madrid—an honour that had been bestowed only once in the past on the great Diego Maradona.
There is no shortage of achievements and awards with this player. Ronaldinho won the Ballon d’Or back in 2005 as well as two La Liga titles, two Spanish Super cup titles and one Champions League title with Barcelona. He also won the World Cup with the Brazilian team in 2002.
He is also known as one of the best free-kick takers.
Although Ronaldinho has an estimated net worth of over $90 million, his retirement days are not going that great. Namely, he recently spent five months in prison in Paraguay for entering the country with a fake passport, but even there, he kept with his trademark smile and was treated like the football legend he is.
This Brazillian star, the youngest player on our list, took the Number 10 jersey once he transferred to Paris Saint Germain from the most valuable sports team in the world, Barca.
Playing football from an early age, it didn’t take long for Santos FC to spot his talent and offer him a contract and a place in their youth academy in 2003. This was a smart call as Neymar Jr proved immensely valuable to the club, scoring more than 100 goals in the four years he spent with Santos.
In 2013 he joined Barcelona, where, together with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, formed one of the deadliest attack trios in football history. Now, Neymar Jr is a PSG player where he continues to amaze everyone with his skills and goals.
The 29-year-old has won pretty much everything there is to win in football. He has two La Liga titles, three French titles, one Champions League title, and he has won the Cups in Spain, France and Brazil. Neymar has also earned major trophies with the Brazilian national team and was named South American Footballer of the Year twice.
Neymar Jr stats have not been that high this season, mainly because of the injuries, but who can blame him, as he is one of the most fouled players on the planet.
He recently signed a contract extension with PSG, which will keep him at the club for another four years. When Paris Saint-Germain initially took on Neymar in 2017, they paid a record-breaking £200 million for the transfer from Barcelona. The value of this player has not gone down with time. Actually, the current value of Neymar on Transfermarkt is €110.00 million, making him one of the most expensive and highest-paid footballers right now.
Many consider Wayne Rooney one of the top players of his generation and the best English footballer ever to play the game. Seeing as how England has given birth to many great names in the sport, such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, this is not a compliment to be taken lightly.
Wayne Rooney started his youth and senior career at Everton. He spent two seasons at the club before transferring to one of the most successful clubs in Europe, Manchester United, in 2004, where he would thrive under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the best football managers of all time.
During his time with the Red Devils, he won a total of 16 trophies and became a five-time Premier League winner, four-time League cup winner, as well as one-time Champions League and FA Cup winner. In addition to being the top goalscorer for Manchester United (he scored 253 goals for the club), Rooney is also the second all-time Premier League goalscorer with 208 goals.
Rooney has played with many football stars, but the one partnership that stands out from the rest is his brilliant collaboration with Cristiano Ronaldo that helped United dominate the Premier League for years.
Today Wayne Rooney is the manager of Derby. Despite many criticisms about his management style, Rooney still succeeded in saving the team from relegation and kept them in the Championship for another year.
A former football superstar and an incredibly successful coach, Zinedine Zidane is a name everyone in soccer knows. If you don’t remember him for his famous Champions League final volley goal, you surely remember the Zinedine Zidane headbutt incident with Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final.
Zinedine Zidane stats are quite impressive. During his long and fruitful career, he played for Cannes, Bordeaux, and Juventus before finishing his career in Real Madrid. This French international has one La Liga title, two Serie A titles, and one Champions League title. Plus, he has won the domestic cups with every team he joined.
On an international level, Zidane won the World Cup and the European Championship. What’s more, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times, and he received the Ballon d’Or in 1998.
Zidane turned to coaching after retiring as a player, leading Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League trophies and two Spanish cup and league titles. He was also named the IFFHS World’s Best Club Coach both in 2017 and 2018.
Francesco Tott is probably the only man in Rome more famous than the Pope and undoubtedly the most loyal soccer player with the number 10 in football history. Nicknamed the “King of Rome” and “Il Capitano”, he is one of the best retired players and the best footballer ever to put on the Roma shirt.
Although he was sought after by some of the biggest clubs in European football, such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid, Francesco Totti spent his whole career playing for AS Roma.
Totti played the game like he had eyes in the back of his head, assisting his teammates from impossible positions. With AS Roma, he scored 250 goals, the most scored by one player for a single club in Serie A. More Francesco Totti career stats show that he also won Scudetto and two domestic cups with Roma and the 2006 World Cup with Italy’s national team. The number of trophies would have certainly been higher if he had left Roma, but as he once famously said, “You don’t leave your poor parents to live with rich strangers”.
This kind of loyalty, combined with an unselfish and dynamic style of play, won the hearts and respect of all Roma supporters. In fact, one of the saddest days in football history was when he played his final game for the club. The fans filled up the Olimpico that day and made a Francesco Totti tribute that brings all Roma fans to tears to this very day.
The best number 10 in soccer award, without a doubt, goes to the Argentinian magician.
Lionel Messi started his youth career in Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina at the age of six, but he joined Catalan giants Barcelona at the age of 13, and now he is among the most decorated football players.
Lionel Messi stats are just one reason why Barcelona has dominated Spanish and European football over the last 15 years. Since 2004 he has scored 474 goals for Barcelona, helping them win ten La Ligas and four Champions League trophies.
The list of Lionel Messi achievements doesn’t end with club trophies—he has tons of individual awards as well. He is the first football player to win the Ballon d’Or award six times and receive the UEFA’s best player in Europe award three times. Furthermore, he is the fastest footballer to reach 300 goals in any of Europe’s top five leagues and holds the record for most goals scored (120) for a single club in the Champions League.
After spending his entire career with Barcelona, Messi finally has the option to leave the Catalan club. Rumours are circulating that PSG will make an offer no other club can match, while Barcelona is confident that signing an extension contract with the Argentinian superstar is “just a matter of time”.
Who Is the All-Time Best Number 10 in Soccer?
So, there you have it—our list of the most famous number 10 soccer players. Did your favourite player make our ratings? Or do you have a list of your own?
Let us know in the comments!