The number 10 jersey at Real Madrid has commanded a lot of respect in their history. Apart from the crucial role it plays in the club’s standard tactics, it also commands quality in a manner which requires a certain level of talent to wear the number.
James Rodriguez, who had held the shirt number 10 during his term, has now moved to Bayern Munich on a 2-year loan move with an option to sign permanently. That left a void, which has now been filled by Luka Modric, who has been assigned the important number for the upcoming season. He previously wore the number 19 jersey.
The number 10 shirt has quite the history for Los Blancos, with some of the previous holders considered legends, while others not so much. The numbers for each jersey was a recent invention, only since 1995, when the rules of the league were changed to make a number compulsory.
The first player to ever don the 10 jersey at Real was Danish legend Michael Laudrup. His style and quality set a standard for years to come. Following him was another legend, Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf. Despite not being a classic no. 10, he played his part extremely well.
The level was lifted higher with every new player, as Figo took charge of holding the reputation of the number. But since then, the number fell into its lesser days, in what they call the “Curse of the no. 10”.
Robinho, followed by Wesley Sneijder and Lassana Diarra, could not do justice to what their predecessors set for them. But then came a German who took the World Cup 2010 by storm – Mesut Ozil. He held the position with much respect until James moved in right after the World Cup of 2014.
The number 10’s of recent times have often had spectacular beginnings, but they later had to subside themselves and move to weaker positions, only to be eventually and permanently benched, as goes the recent trend. One can only hope Luka Modric’s talent can prevent the same fate for himself at the Bernabeu.
Written by Srivats Venkateswaran
Sports writer with a long experience of writing in football.Was football team head at EssentiallySports. Still deeply misses Sir Alex and Berbatov at United. An introvert at heart with a poetic hand. Engineer by choice, writer by passion.