We might need some time to get used to the idea, but Lionel Messi won't play for Barcelona this season and has already become a PSG player. After spending more than 20 years with the Cules, signing his first contract in a napkin, the Argentine superstar will leave Camp Nou as a legend that has changed the club's fortunes forever. With him out for 2021/22, who will take his number 10 jersey? Will someone actually wear it after him?
Well, it won't be easy for Barca to find someone who can fill Messi's shoes nor for another player to achieve what the 34-year-old has accomplished so far, that's for sure. Many soccer fans might consider that the Catalans should directly retire the No. 10 shirt in his honor. Then again, Barcelona have to move on and club president Joan Laporta has constantly mentioned that Barca were above everything.
If the Blaugranas assume that position and decide that they can't just retire a jersey no matter the player, we could see another name taking the iconic number 10 sooner than expected. The likes of Ansu Fati and Pedri are serious candidates to wear that jersey at some point in the future, but in the meantime, these could be given the historic shirt:
He has just arrived in Barcelona, but Memphis Depay could step up as the next superstar for the Cules, who have struggled to find a figure asides from Messi since Neymar and Luis Suarez left. The Dutchman seems to have all the trust from Ronald Koeman, but he has already taken the No. 9. In the future, however, he might be given the No. 10 shirt if he makes an impression.
Sergio Kun Aguero
Who better than Messi's closest friend, Sergio Aguero, to inherit the No. 10? Kun joined Barcelona in what seemed an attempt to convince Leo to stay, but unfortunately, they won't play together as expected.
While this situation meant a huge blow for both of them, the club could try to make the best of it by handing the number 10 jersey to Kun. His legacy would be in safe hands, even though Aguero will then have to respond accordingly. Even Gerard Piqué has admitted to be wanting Kun to inherit the shirt, but it seems like he will be wearing the number 19 instead.
The Frenchman didn't get off to the best start with the Catalans, to say the least. But Antoine Griezmann is undeniably one of the most talented players on Barcelona's roster right now, so it wouldn't sound crazy that he is trusted to wear the No. 10 from now on.
He hasn't quite earned it so far, but he has everything to turn things around and become the superstar Barca went after two years ago when they acquired him from Atletico Madrid. Will Griezmann have the chance?
Acquired from Liverpool in 2018 for a mind-blowing $148.50 million fee, Philippe Coutinho hasn't lived up to expectations in Barcelona. The Brazilian midfielder was in his prime when Barca landed him, but he couldn't carry his Premier League level to La Liga.
He spent the 2019-20 season on loan with Bayern, but Ronald Koeman wanted him to stay in his first year at the helm. However, Coutinho has failed to impress again and looked set to leave the club this summer. But, in a shocking turn of events, Mundo Deportivo has reported that the Dutchman and the Cules would give him another shot, even offering him the number 10. Will he bounce back and be the player he once was at Anfield?