World Cup Soccer 2010: The famed Number 10 football jersey
Until the World Cup in South Africa 2010, the best players in the world wore the number 10 jersey for their respective countries. Famous footballers like Zinedine Zidane, Kaka, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and many others wore the number 10 jerseys. Over the years, it has become a fact that the best players in a team will wear the number 10 shirt and this has led to some interesting occurrences in the world of football. There must be a reason why the best players in football are given the number 10 jersey and does it signify anything?
The FIFA World Cup 2010 has been a very interesting one for all the drama and surprises it has produced. One of the biggest surprises is the fact that some of the world's best teams are sitting at home at the moment having rudely exited the competition. This got a lot of footballing pundits thinking that teams that put in stellar team performances instead of relying on individual talent were more successful in South Africa 2010. Argentina, besides the fact that they had a pretty weak defensive line this year, relied on their top performer Lionel Messi to deliver. When he failed, the team relied on others to step up but they failed to do so. Their number 10 let them down in a big way. On the other end, the team that thrashed them with a 4-0 score line in the quarter-final had no individual star but played as a single unit and destroyed them.
This year's contest saw the demise of a lot of number 10â€™s. Wayne Rooney did absolutely nothing in this tournament, as did Lionel Messi; who could not even score one goal. What is the allure of the number 10 and is the entire excitement around it coming to an end? It seems that the number 10 is almost a worshipped number amongst footballers and to wear it means that a footballer is well above his peers. What it seems has happened over the years is that too much pressure has been placed on the shoulders of those that wear the number ten jersey. It may come down to superstition, or it may simply come down to something the players truly believe in their hearts, but the number 10 has taken over a larger significance in the world of football.
It seems that when the best players in the world of previous years wore the number 10, they showed that they were the best in the world. Pele wore that number, as did Maradona. It is likely that when these players wore the number performed well on the football pitch, others thought that by wearing the same number they might become very good as well. It does not always work out that way.
In the beginning of football, a player's number was chosen depending on what position that player was going to play in the field. For instance, the number 1 jersey was designated for a goalkeeper, 5 for a central midfielder, 9 for a striker and 10 for an attacking midfielder. In 1954, FIFA changed the system and told teams to adopt a numbering system. As a result, players started to choose their own numbers. The strange thing about the numbering system was that players chose a number and jealously guarded them for the rest of their careers. Players picked numbers that they thought were lucky or there was some meaningful for them or simply because they liked it.
Footballers are a strange bunch of human beings and their choice of numbers and the reasons behind them are quite similar as well. Rationally speaking, a number does nothing to improve a player's ability or make them run faster or score more goals. What the number and its perception do make a difference is only in the mind of the person wearing it. If a person wears the number 10 jersey that was worn by his heroes of the past, it might make him feel that he has been given extra powers or he has improved as a player.
Football is a fascinating game and all the little eccentricities that go along with it are just as fascinating. Something as simple as a number can become so much more in the mind of the footballer. This is how powerful a number can become in a game such as football and it will continue to spread its spiritual effect on players in the days to come.