With the transfer window now closed, Spanish clubs have released their shirt numbers for the season, and we finally have an answer to the question of who will wear the now vacant 10 shirt at Barcelona.
In the end it should be no surprise that it’s gone to the player closest to being Lionel Messi’s heir in the current squad: Ansu Fati.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 1, 2021
The La Masia product has been out for almost a year injured, but before that looked as bright a young prospect as there was in world football.
In fact, it’s a whole new dimension to the Messi departure tragedy that the two didn’t get to play more games together at the Nou Camp.
Barca fans – as well as football fans in general – are all hoping he looks as good as ever once he’s up to speed in the new season. That shirt is a lot to live up to, and it’s a lot of pressure for a kid who now has the world on his shoulders.
In fact, given he’s not even back playing after a long term injury suffered at a young age, some would argue it’s an unnecessary extra burden on him. It would have been easy to leave the 10 vacant, see how the season plays out, and then give it to the 18 year next summer, to ease the transition to the post-Messi era.