The reason why Barcelona cannot retire the number 10 jersey in honor of Lionel Messi 

Lionel Messi departed Barcelona after 21 years
Lionel Messi departed Barcelona after 21 years
Ume Elvis

Barcelona parted ways with Lionel Messi earlier in August, sending social and mainstream media into meltdown.

The dust has since settled on the groundbreaking news, with Lionel Messi moving on to Paris Saint-Germain, while Barcelona began a new era with a routine win over Real Sociedad.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is by far the greatest player in the history of the Blaugrana and attention has turned to how the Camp Nou outfit can immortalize him.

One of the most recurring conversations concerns Barcelona retiring the number 10 permanently in honor of the Rosario native.

This reasoning is not far-fetched, as it is unlikely that any player will ever match Lionel Messi's achievements for Barcelona.

It is common practice for clubs to retire jerseys when legendary players retire or depart. Teams like Napoli retired the number 10 in honor of Diego Maradona, while AC Milan retired the jersey number 3 for the great Paolo Maldini.

However, La Liga rules clearly state that first-team players from all 20 clubs in the top-flight must be assigned jersey numbers 1 to 25 when being registered for any season.

The jersey number 1 is assigned to goalkeepers, as well as numbers 13 and 25, while youth team players who are registered in the middle of the season can be assigned any number from 26 to 50.

This simply means that if Barcelona decide not to assign the jersey number 10 for this season, they would have to register 24 players as against the 25 players they are allowed.

Different rules in different leagues mean that it is relatively more straightforward to retire jersey numbers in leagues like Serie A and the Bundesliga than it is in La Liga.

Which players could possibly inherit Lionel Messi's jersey number 10 at Barcelona this season?

Lionel Messi made history with the number 10 jersey
Lionel Messi made history with the number 10 jersey

Considering La Liga's peculiar rules surrounding jersey numbers, it is imperative for Barcelona to register a player with the number 10 or they will be forced to play with just 24 players in the competition.

However, finding a player to inherit that number from Lionel Messi has proved problematic, with at least two players reportedly turning down the opportunity.

Reports emanated earlier in the week that Philippe Coutinho had turned down the chance, despite having worn number 10 for five seasons at Liverpool.

The Brazil international is reportedly on the transfer list at Barcelona but a dearth of suitors means that he might remain put in Catalunya.

Another potential candidate is Sergio Aguero, with Gerard Pique revealing that he spoke with the Argentine to continue his compatriot's legacy. Aguero, however, refused and elected to wear the jersey number 19 instead even though he wore number 10 at Manchester City.

Lionel Messi wore the hallowed number 10 jersey for Barcelona for 13 seasons and recreated history while doing so.

The 34-year-old's displays at Camp Nou are well-documented and whoever takes over the mantle from him has the heavy weight of history on his back.

Also See: Fabrizio Romano's Transfer Roundup: Arsenal transfer news, Update on Harry Kane's future and more

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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