The number 10 shirt number has been worn by some of the best players in world football, not the least by the Argentina national team.
From the legendary Maradona to Messi, here are the best number 10s to suit up for La Albiceleste.
A pure genius with the football, Maradona took the sports world by storm in the 1980s. A prolific scorer, dribbler, and passer, Maradona shined in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where he scored 10 of his team's 14 goals, including the infamous ‘Hand of God' goal and the ‘Goal of the Century' four minutes later that helped beat England en route to the finals.
Maradona peaked at the club level with Napoli, winning 2 Italian championships, a UEFA Cup, and an Italian Super Super Cup. He narrowly missed out on a second consecutive World Cup in 1990.
The 7-time Ballon d'Or winner has played 171 games for La Albiceleste and scored 96 times, a team record. After helping his side win the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Messi's international career has experienced a mix of ups and downs. He led Argentina to a runner-up in World Cup 2014 and a runner-up in Copa América three times: 2007, 2015, and 2016. After losing the Copa América 2016, he briefly retired and returned to play in the 2018 World Cup.
But Messi's patience and pertinacity have paid off. Messi led Argentina to their first Copa America title in 2021 and is set to appear in yet another World Cup final in Qatar.
There can be little argument to say that Messi has more than fulfilled the number 10 shirt. He's undoubtedly the number 10 icon the future looks up to now.
Omar Sivori preceded the trickery and creative intuition of Maradona and Messi. The 1961 Ballon D'or winner danced with the ball around defenders, often nutmegging them to their embarrassment.
After leading Argentina to the 1957 South American Championship, Italian giants Juventus made Sivori the world's most expensive footballer upon a £91,000 transfer from River Plate. The diminutive forward led the Old Lady to three Serie A titles, forming a formidable partnership with attacking teammates Giampiero Boniperti and John Charles; together, they became known as the Trio Magico. The once-dubbed “Maradona of the 60s,” Sivori passed away in 2005.
Juan Roman Riquelme
The Boca Juniors legend Riquelme became known for his unreal vision, passing ability, and creativity on the ball. He helped the team win three Copa Libertadores and five Argentinian titles.
The four-time Argentina footballer of the year helped La Albiceleste to a 2008 Olympic gold medal and 2007 Copa America runner-up.
The original number 10, Riquelme and Messi share the same birthday!
Ariel Ortega wore the number 10 shirt for Argentina for two World Cup campaigns, earning himself 87 caps and a 1996 silver medal. While a fantastic dribbler and pure technician on the pitch, the mercurial Ortega never fully lived up to his potential as the next Maradona.
He's often remembered for the infamous head-butt on Dutch goalie Edwin Van der Sar in the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup after the two had a “minor disagreement.”