News
Lionel Messi

Why is Messi wearing No.10 for PSG vs Nice? French shirt number tradition explained

21:51 SAST 2022/01/31
Lionel Messi PSG
Fans will get to watch Lionel Messi don the famous No.10 shirt again for Monday's match against Nice due to a French Cup rule

Paris Saint-Germain take on Nice in the last-16 of the French Cup, and you may be wondering why Lionel Messi hasn't been given the No.30 shirt – and will instead wear his old iconic No.10 shirt, the number he favoured during his time playing for Barcelona.

GOAL has what you need to know about why Messi is wearing the shirt usually occupied by Neymar and more.

Why is Lionel Messi wearing No.10 for PSG vs Nice?

Messi is wearing the No. 10 for PSG against Nice because of a French Cup tradition which maintains that in the last 16 stage, the 11 starting players must wear numbers from 1 to 11.

In the team news announcement posted by PSG in the lead-up to the match, the No.10 was assigned to Messi.

The Argentine currently wears the No.30 shirt for PSG, due to Neymar occupying the No.10.

Usually, of course, players are allowed to wear numbers higher than the number 11.

Neymar will not be featuring in the game against Nice as he is currently recovering from a left ankle sprain with ligament damage sustained in a Ligue 1 match against Saint-Etienne back in November.

And so, because Neymar will not be playing against Nice, the No.10 shirt has been temporarily vacated for Messi to wear in tonight's French Cup match only. The fact that Messi has history with the No.10 shirt playing for the Blaugrana only adds to the special nature of tonight's occasion.

What number will Lionel Messi wear once Neymar returns?

Assuming that PSG progress to the next round of the French Cup and Neymar returns to fitness, it is assumed that the Brazilian will reclaim his No.10 shirt – meaning that Messi will have to borrow another shirt number once again, at least temporarily, should both feature in the game.

PSG's No.1 to No.10 shirts are all occupied, so Messi (assuming he plays in the next game) will have to swap shirt numbers again.

What is the significance of Lionel Messi wearing No.10?

Messi will forever be one of Barcelona's most iconic No.10s, his legend status at the club synonymous with his shirt number.

The Argentine began his first-team career at Barcelona and scored his first senior goal for the club wearing the No.30, before switching to No.19 after establishing himself as a regular in the side.

He inherited the No. 10 shirt from former team-mate Ronaldinho, and the shirt holds a huge amount of weight in and of itself, usually reserved for the central playmakers of the team.

Messi has spoken about the influence Ronaldinho has had on his career, especially with guiding him on transitioning into the senior side.

“He [Ronaldinho] was a great help,” Messi told the Barcelona official website in 2013. “It’s never easy to go into a changing room at the age of 16, especially with my character.

"Before leaving the club [Ronaldinho] was coming off a few months where he was thinking about things.

"He had it in his mind that he was leaving and he told me to have his number. I took it without looking at what he had done with the shirt. If I did, I would not have taken it."

Messi took the No.30 shirt after signing for PSG as a tribute to the first shirt number he wore for Barcelona.

Further reading