The Ten Greatest Number 10s in World Football History

Every football fan likes to be entertained when watching the beautiful game. And usually, that mostly depends on the number 10s in a team, the trequartistas.

We will not be mentioning only those that just wore the number (the number 10s) but the creators, the magicians, who offered crowds something worth the ticket.

Some of the latest number 10s playing presently!

As with any Top 10 list, there are also players that miss out including Laudrup, Cruyff and Di Stefano. But here is Online Sports Blogs’s Best Number 10s in the World, ever.

 

Alessandro Del Piero

Alessandro Del Piero, nicknamed ‘Pinturicchio’, is widely considered as one of the best Italian number 10s of all time. He is possibly the most technically gifted Italian player of all time.

Over 19 incredible seasons in Turin, he won 6 Serie A titles, 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Champions League title. With Italy, Del Piero got 91 caps. He scored 27 goals for them including a goal in the 2006 World Cup semi-final.

Due to his creative style of play, eye for goal, flair, and technical skill, Del Piero was known as a “fantasista” in Italy.

He is still loved by the Juve fans even in this day and that means he did something extraordinary for the club. He makes this list deservedly.

 

Zico

Zico was a player with amazing technique, vision, an unmatchable passing range, plus the ability to finish.

Pelé once said: “throughout the years, the one player who came closest to me was Zico”. With this quote the former Flamengo man was given the nickname ‘white Pele’.

He played more than 800 times for the Brazilian club, scoring 539 goals, but known as one of the best passers of the ball. He is arguably one of the greatest players to play in the 1970s and early 80s.

His record will be tainted slightly due to not winning any of the three World Cups he played in when Brazil were dominant. This is what makes it hard for him to measure up to some of the other Samba legends.

Let that take nothing away from his ability to bend and manipulate the ball with both feet though. A dead-ball specialist, he was Beckham before you could get paid for wearing fancy pants.

 

Lionel Messi

Not many would put this little Argentine wizard above the great Diego, but sometimes we are blinded by nostalgia and the great players of the past.

In 20 to 30 years’ time, no one will blink an eye-lid at naming Lionel Messi as one of the greatest number 10s ever.

Messi has re-written the Barcelona record books, astonishing when you consider all the players that have come before him. He became the club’s all-time top scorer when he was just 24.

What’s even more impressive, he also holds the record for the most assists in La Liga history. While he will always find a way to score, he won’t do so at the behest of his team.

With eight league titles, four Champions League medals and five Ballon d’Ors it’s frightening that he’s only just 30. There is still more to come from this little magician.

 

Pele

Pele has routinely been voted the greatest football player that ever lived and not only the one on top of the list of the greatest number 10s. The Brazilian never left his homeland until he was in his late 30s. He spent most of his career at Santos and then moved to the New York Cosmos at the age of 35 back in 1975.

Pele first played in the World Cup in 1958 at the age of 17, and in all, won three titles. He gained the No.10 shirt by accident. Brazil had forgotten to allocate numbers, so FIFA did it instead, and Pele was nominated as No. 10, still the greatest and the best footballer of all-time.

 

Michel Platini

FIFA named the Frenchman the sixth greatest player of all-time in their Player of the Century vote and it’s hard to argue with the three-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Michel Platini was exceptional with the ball at his feet, he was easily one of the best number 10s of his generation. Another dead ball specialist, he was deadly from distance and cool from the penalty spot. Deceptively quick, able to play anywhere in the attack, he was another playmaker that also seemed a step ahead of the opposition.

Not blessed physically, he never looked like an athletic or gifted athlete, but despite concerns over his fitness and work-rate, put the ball at his feet and he would find a way to beat you.

Le Roi would get the better of you in the air or on the ground, take apart your defence with a killer pass or a silky dribble, there was nothing he couldn’t do. A hero as a player, winning the 1984 European Championships with France, his off-the-field career hasn’t been able to match that success.

 

Francesco Totti

When it comes to great Italian number 10s, we are spoiled for choice.

Totti is, and always has been, appreciated in Italy, where his talent is visible for all to see. In Rome, at least for the Giallorossi, Totti was and still is revered. He is without a doubt one of the greatest players of the last 20 years but is criminally underrated.

Both Pele and Maradona have in the past stated that Totti was the greatest player in the world. Michel Platini said he is the player he would most be like if he was playing today. The great Gianni Rivera rates him higher than any other Italian player of the last 20 years.

 

Ronaldinho

Just as Real Madrid were signing David Beckham for his marketability, Barcelona were putting their chips on Paris Saint-Germain’s Ronaldinho. The smiling Brazilian didn’t disappoint.

Ronnie was the bridge between a team in transition and the juggernaut Spanish power club we have today. Over the years, Ronaldinho went on to become one of the best number 10s of the 21st century.

For all the flair, many forget the sublime vision to pick out a team-mate, even pulling off no-look passes at will. Before you had worked out what Ronaldinho was about to do, he’d done it and was conjuring up something else.

Multiple Player of the Year awards, two La Liga titles and the 2005/06 Champions League, had he managed to sustain his performances for a longer period of time then he would surely have been even higher up this list.

But while his multitude of tricks and flicks may fade as time goes on, his smile will always remain.

 

Zinedine Zidane

Most images of Zinedine Zidane that spring to mind come in the iconic blue shirts of France, especially that career-defining World Cup in 1998. However, before his two headed goals in the final, Zizou, had not made a telling impact.

One of his best performances for Les Bleus came much later. Playing against Spain and Brazil in 2006, it was the 34-year-old that turned back the clock and handed two of the game’s powerhouses and lesson in football mastery.

A legend for every club he played for, he took both Juventus and Real Madrid to another level when he joined. No one will ever forget his stunning volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League final in Glasgow. And there can be no denying he was a true Galactico.

 

Roberto Baggio

You had to see Baggio to realise how good he was. And he is in good company on this list. Arguably the best No. 10 to last play in Italy is Francesco Totti, now 43. But he’s not in Baggio’s class.

Roberto was voted fourth-best player of all-time in the FIFA Internet poll and a member of the all-time FIFA World Cup Dream Team. He also won the Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993.

He is also one of the greatest Italian goalscorers of all time on many different counts, scoring 218 in 488 matches at club level and 27 in 56 for his country.

In some ways, he was more than a great No.10 and probably the first true Trequartista in Italian football.

 

Dennis Bergkamp

Painting pictures with his right foot, Dennis Bergkamp was to football as Vincent van Gogh was to art. Technically, not many players, either before or after him have been able to match up. His sublime control against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup cannot go unremembered. He could beat you with skill, guile and a killer eye for a pass.

At Arsenal, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry benefited from the Dutchman’s unselfishness. Bergkamp finished with 94 assists in the Premier League. Only Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs managed more – but they played for a much longer period of time.

Coming through the Ajax academy, he had a difficult spell at Inter Milan before Bruce Rioch pounced. His 11-year spell at Arsenal, as well as creating countless chances for his team, he also found the back of the net 100 times himself.

 

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