It’s going to take some adjusting to seeing Lionel Messi in a new club jersey. He’ll also be donning a new number after his switch to French club PSG.
For years Messi wore the No. 10 shirt for FC Barcelona in Spain. With the move to France, the 34-year-old free agent superstar will be making a change, wearing the No. 30 shirt.
There’s a significance behind this selection.
Why is Messi wearing No. 30 at PSG?
Messi wore the No. 30 at Barcelona when he first broke into the senior team as a youngster in the 2004-2005 season.
He actually wore the No. 30 for his first two seasons, before switching to the No. 19 jersey in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 campaigns, biding his time while Brazilian star Ronaldinho graced the No. 10 shirt.
Ronaldinho vacated the No. 10 when he moved to AC Milan in 2008, allowing Messi to graduate to the Barcelona No. 10 jersey in 2008-2009. He would not give it up for 13 full seasons.
Another reason Messi didn’t opt for the No. 10 at PSG: It’s currently worn by Messi’s friend and ex-Barcelona teammate Neymar. Reports stated that the Brazilian had even gone as far as offering his shirt to the Argentine, but Messi declined the gesture.
The No. 19 is also worn by PSG’s Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia. In addition to wearing it for two seasons with Barcelona, Messi had donned the No. 19 jersey in his younger days playing for the Argentina national team.
It’s in the No. 30 that Messi will hope to make history at PSG: “Everything about the club matches my football ambitions,” he said. “I know how talented the squad and the coaching staff are here. I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans, and I am looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch at the Parc des Princes.”
Barcelona can’t retire the No. 10 shirt after Messi
It was Ronaldinho’s shoes that Messi had to fill when the legendary Brazilian departed in 2008, and it’s safe to say that Messi went above and beyond.
Ronaldinho himself insisted the La Liga side should not allow another player to wear the No. 10 after Messi — albeit he said this with retirement in mind, not in the event of Messi signing for another European side.
“When Messi retires, which I hope will be a long time from now, they should leave the No. 10 there so that nobody can touch it again,” Ronaldinho said in 2018.
But Ronaldinho wasn’t apparently aware of La Liga rules ( page 5 of the competition rules ), which require each team’s 25-man roster to use numbers 1 through 25 with the No. 1, No. 13 and No. 25 jerseys reserved for goalkeepers. Any academy or affiliate players that join a club during the season wear numbers beginning with No. 26.