Sergio Agüero has reportedly turned down the opportunity to fill the vacant number 10 jersey at Barcelona, made available following the exit of fellow countryman and close friend Lionel Messi.
The iconic shirt, previously worn by Romario and Ronaldinho at the Nou Camp, has been a hot topic since the six time Ballon d’Or winner completed his dramatic move to PSG. Phillipe Coutinho, so often linked with a move away from the Catalan club this summer, has also been mentioned around filling the shirt, more so after his no.14 was worn by Rey Manaj for the opening weekend’s victory over Real Sociedad. Rumours Ousmane Dembele has been offered the shirt are unconfirmed
With La Liga rules stating that all players must wear shirts numbered 1-25, it means that the no.10 is currently the only available option at Barcelona. Club officials are thought to prefer offering the shirt to a La Masia graduate, after Messi’s ex-teammates have respectfully declined following his decorated legacy at the club.
It has been an overwhelming start to life at his club for 33-year-old Agüero since signing as a free agent from Manchester City this summer. Complications around the rules and regulations of Barcelona registering new players have delayed the player making his debut, whilst he has also had to see his close friend Messi depart. All this after his Argentinian compatriot was a huge influence on him joining the club. Rumours he is already looking for a swift exit are said to be false with the player confirming he will wear the no.19 shirt in his debut season via Instagram.
Captain Gerard Pique admitted via Twitch that he would like to see the club’s new signing take the number, but understands the players’ decision of one out of respect for his friend and the fact that the shirt ‘now weighs another 30 kilos’ thanks to Messi’s exploits during 13 seasons wearing the no.10.
For now the shirt remains vacated and with the transfer window closing for all European clubs at the end of August, a lot can still happen. Whether it be Coutinho, another new signing or a La Masia graduate, Barcelona fans will be hoping whoever takes the jersey will help the club begin to navigate through a currently turbulent new chapter.
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