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No. 10 in Soccer

Discussion in 'Coach' started by Soccertes, Dec 30, 2009.

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  1. Soccertes

    Soccertes Member

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    I understand that shirt #10 in soccer has historical significance. #10 is usually given to the best attacking playmaker on a team. The player that has good vision to make deadly passes and good ball control. My question is how did the #10 get assigned to this perception? Why not #9 or #7 etc..?

    I once heard that it has to do with an old formation and how shirt numbers were assigned. I believe in the old days they would assign squad numbers starting with 1 for the goalkeeper and then moving up through the defence, midfield, and forwards to assign the rest of the numbers up to 11. But what formation was used that placed the #10 shirt into a position that he played such an important role that the #10 wearer had to be a very gifted player if not the best player on the team?

    Thanks!
     


  2. feyenoordsoccerfan

    feyenoordsoccerfan Member+

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    The importance of the number 10 position is coming from the totall football concept of the Dutch. It has nothing to do with old line up formation or with giving it to the best player as a kind of general's star.
    You put on the number 10 spot the player that can play the tasks required in the Dutch concept the best. That's all.
     
  3. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    It's just a number. People associate it with greatness because Pele and then later Maradona wore the number 10. If they had worn 13, you would be posting about 13.
     
  4. JoseP

    JoseP Member

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    In the olden days players were assigned numbers according to their position starting with the goalie being #1 up to #11 for the last forward. The #10 was the center forward and typically your best player. I think Pele popularized the #10 more than any other player in the history of soccer.

    I met a player from the 1950 US team that beat England. He told me that players would wear the jersey for the position they were playing. So, it was possible a player could be wearing a different number for every game.

    I think when people talk about the #10 position it is not generally associated with a forward, but usually refers to the center midfielder who is considered the organizer.
     


  5. Rebaño_Sagrado

    Rebaño_Sagrado Member+

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    Juan Roman Riquelme, Zinedine Zidane and Cuauhtemoc Blanco are players which worn the number 10 jersey. It doesn't mean they are the best player on their team, but they are the playmakers/creativos.

    The number ten can also be given to a striker, Messi.

    Each number from 1 - 11 represents the position a player plays if you go by tradition.

    1 - Goalie
    2, 5 - outside backs
    3, 4 - center backs
    6,8 - dmids/center mids
    7,11- wingers/outside mids
    9 - center forward
    10 - second striker/creative mid
     
  6. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    Although a lot of the guys around here could give good answers, this would be a better discussion in the The Beautiful Game or History forum. Search there for a more comprehensive answer. Comme's thread (seen here) in the TBG forum is a good resource for the tactical history of the game.

    In any event, here's my interpretation (w/ mistakes included)...
     
  7. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    Another great name for such a player is "trequartista" meaning "three-quarters (3/4) player".

    It is a term used to signify that the player is more than a "half" and not quite a "full" forward. He is somewhere "in between".
     
  8. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    It would seem that way, but this is not the case.

    Actually, as JoseP pointed out, there was a very specific practice of assigning players numbers based on position first and then later custom.

    There's a reason why so many talented players have worn #10 is not a coincidence. It's a number that was associated with technical skill, positioning on the field, and creativity long before Maradona came to play the game.

    ----

    Incidentally, it has nothing to do with the Dutch version of "total football". I'm not sure how feyenoordsoccerfan came up with his answer - unless he is being misunderstood. :D
     
  9. Soccertes

    Soccertes Member

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    Thanks guys! These are all great responses. I believe all these responses added to the meaning of the #10 over time.

    I think it started as Twenty26Six and JoseP mentioned. The 3223 formation refered to was also known as the WM formation. But I did not realize that "..."Analysts" of the time just shifted the numbers around rather than change the order of how they were assigned to accommodate the new positions". In such a case I can see the #10 being an integral player from which critical attacking plays can be launched.

    From there I believe as more famous players such as Pele, Puskas, and other players of that generation wore the number 10 it continued to add to the history/fable of the shirt number. I think by the time Maradona and Zidane wore the number there was already a history behind it and their wearing it just added to it.

    Today not all players that wear a number 10 are necessarily the best players or playmakers on a team. Arsenal's Gallas wears #10 and he's a central defender. Same as Milan's Seedorf. Some purists may say they're not true #10s, but you don't necessarily have to be. On some teams it may just be a number just like any other. On other teams they may really give that number to a playmaking maestro and gifted ball player (Barcelona: Messi, INTER: Wesley Sneijder). And to other teams that number may be legendary and untouchable (Napoli: Maradona - that number has since been retired).
     
  10. Rebaño_Sagrado

    Rebaño_Sagrado Member+

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    No gosta Italianos:D

    Another name would be enganche.
     
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  11. Rebaño_Sagrado

    Rebaño_Sagrado Member+

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    I have may own point of view on this. I believe there is a evolution to moving the playmaker further back in midfield as a CM's, in the European game anyways. You can still find many playmakers in South America.
     
  12. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    If you think about it, you and I are saying the same thing. Everything you said about the history of the game was true (although in a very simplistic sense). Before substitutions the shirt numbers were very much identified with positions. (In fact there are stories of coaches engaged in a bit of gamesmanship in misnumbering players.) And international tournaments normally require use of certain shirt numbers, which is why Argentina still has a 10 shirt in tournaments. (Like team captains, shirt numbers are not found in the LOTG.) In 1950 a player's number usually did indicate his position, but soccer was not homogenized even then like today under the inflence of decades of TV. In England a center back is still often called a centre half or #5 after the centre half position in the 235 system, long after it has gone. But it is because of the great players of the past that the number 10 still has special meaning today. What were once common practices are now no longer observed except for tradition.

    In the 1958 world cup Pele wore the number 10 shirt and he sat the bench the first two matches. He was assigned his number by the Swedish (host nation) commissioner, so you see reality is not always reasoned. http://www.v-brazil.com/culture/sports/world-cup/1958-Sweden.html (See bottom of page.)
     
  13. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    Well, nothing is cut and dried. And, there's a little bit of both elements mixed in.

    For example, the below..
    But, then, you've got the fact that once Bill Shankly sent his Liverpool to Belgium with a young defensive midfielder wearing the #10 shirt. The Belgian opponents started out marking the #10 straight away, since they believed him to be the playmaker. By the time they figured out he wasn't the guy they should be worried about, it was too late. ;)


    To say that the #10 phenomenon is based purely from a fan's perspective is just as wrong as saying it's purely a matter of tactical evolution. It's a bit of both. :)
     
  14. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    But it is purely based on people's perceptions. It reflects how people talk about the game. But perceptions differ. Even between England and the US, both English speaking, the understanding is slightly different. Here is a pretty involved explanation of one person's perspective in the UK. To him a #10 is not a playmaker, but rather a withdrawn forward. The playmaker would be laying deeper than the #10. He also doesn't think of the playmaker as being an attacking midfielder. I always think of playmaker and CAM to mean the same thing, which is apparently what the op thinks too from the context of his post.
    http://www.talkfootball.co.uk/guides/positions_in_football.html
    I see a lot of people discussing positions like he does. There is a lot of labels for specialist but few generalist positions. A sign of the times. I still prefer total soccer as the ultimate goal.
     
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  15. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    True, but basing any of this discussion on thoughts of an Englishman or American is pretty poor. Both of those countries have developed in tactical isolation for a number of years.

    Americans are severely isolated. The English just ignore what happens everywhere else.

    The common consensus with the "world" (Europe, South America) is that the #10 is a playmaker. In the English league, that is a withdrawn forward.

    Also, in the English league, you need to understand that there isn't a history of any isolated midfield playmakers. The English league has always been a dribbling and striking league at its heart - not a passing league. In England, the "playmakers" aren't creative passers who find space in isolation. They are fast/strong strikers, box-to-box midfielders who charge through and dominate space, or pacy wingers that dribble, cross, and shoot.
     
  16. Dan_10

    Dan_10 New Member

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    It just depends where you are as well. In Argentina, the numbers refer to the following positions:

    1: GK
    2: Sweeper/CB
    3: Left Back
    4: Right Back
    5: DM/CM
    6: CB/Stopper
    7: Outside Forward
    8: RM
    9: CF
    10: AM
    11: LM

    The fact that 10 is more accustomed is because creative players use it and those are the players you remember the most. Very rarely do you go around talking about how you were moved by the tactical awareness of a defender. The typical fan goes away saying, did you see that move Maradona/Pele/Zidane/Riquelme/Cruyff made?

    But the other numbers also have associations. #9 is typically your goal scorer. #7/11 are usually offensive minded players. #1 is the gk.

    The difference is that the #10, #9 and #1 are more universal. Unlike say the #5 that depends on which country you are in (Argentina: CM/DM, England: CB) etc.
     
  17. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    Really? Beckenbauer, Maldini, Baresi, Koeman, Rijkaard?
     
  18. Dan_10

    Dan_10 New Member

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    I didn't say they do not exist, I said that the typical fan comes away remembering the unbelievable flair a player has. There are few exceptions, and usually they are from players who were so classy and unbelievable at winning back the ball that they stand out despite being defenders.

    But, for the most part, it is the playmakers that leave fans enchanted. The Maradonas, Peles etc.

    It's like in US football. The players who are remembered are always the RB, QB, WRs etc. but the most important jobs are done by the OL. Win the line of scrimmage and you win the game, but rarely do people say, wow we won because of our C. they just say every once in awhile, 'dam did you see the block he made. The safety still can't get up' etc.
     
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  19. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    Except none of this is why Maradona, Zidane and others came to wear the #10 in the first place. It's not coincidence that these players are picking the numbers or being assigned the numbers (cute Pele story aside).

    It has nothing to do with fans that are only mesmerized by attacking players.
     
  20. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    After Maradona and Pele, the connection really breaks down. Zidane wore number 5 for Real Madrid. Gullit, similarly known for wearing the Dutch 10 shirt, wore just about every number for his club teams. You can find vids of him scoring goals for AC Milan in everything from 4 to 11 including 10 of course. (But then Gullit could and did play everywhere at one time or another, including a famous occasion in goal.) For national teams there is lots of turnover in the pool and rosters change a lot so numbers are not as fixed as club teams. For clubs teams there are other considerations. First there are usually no limitations on what numbers may be used. Second when new players are added they usually get what number is available, sometimes that means number 12+. Otherwise they have to buy shirts for two players. Consider Gianfranco Zola, Chelsea's famous no. 25, voted Chelsea's all-time best player by its fans. (For obvious reasons he didn't wear 10 at Napoli while playing there with Maradona, but he did wear a 10 shirt later in his carreer in Serie A.)

    As I mentioned before I attribute this change to the widespread use of substitutions for the last 30 years. When you don't have any subs, you only need 11 shirts :)
     
  21. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    With all due respect, this doesn't make any sense. Zidane wore #5 at Madrid, b/c Figo (the playmaker who was there first) already had it. Coincidentally, what number did Zidane wear for France?

    Gullit was not a "10", Some people might say he was, but he was an all-arounder like you mentioned. His number proves nothing in this discussion.

    You're not going to prove to me that the classification of a player wearing number 10 as a playmaker was a fluke. It happened for a reason, and it happened long before Pele played a game.


     
  22. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    Ok. I finally found the "missing link" I was thinking about that proves the #10 started to take a life of its own well before Pele in 1958.

    In the 30s and 40s, teams played in a W-M or 3-2-2-3 formation. We know this, and this is how the positions were numbered.
    1
    2 ----- 5 ----- 3
    4-----6
    8-----10
    7 ----- 9 ----- 11​

    In the 40s, Brasilian clubs (through Bela Guttman and others) tweaked the system and called it the "diagonal". Basically, the midfield "box" tilted to put the #10 a bit higher and the #4 a bit lower. Like this:
    1
    2 ----- 5 ----- 3
    4-----
    -----6
    8-----
    -----10
    7 ----- 9 ----- 11​

    Some teams actually tilted the "other way" to make the #8 more advanced. But, as a rule, more teams has left-sided midfield playmakers. So, the most "attacking" or "creative" midfielder position was more often the #10. Hence..... ;)
     
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  23. rca2

    rca2 Member

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    The problem is that your conclusion is based on unsupported assumptions. First it is very much based on English football history and English football commentators. (The centerback/centrehalf distinction.) Second it assumes that everyone world-wide followed English numbering practices. It also assumes that everyone used the same system of play and that everywhere the systems changed in the same manner. The difference between the 235 and WM systems is merely the withdrawal of a midfielder to the fullback position. The forward line played the same. In reality the 10(and 8)/ "inside forward" positions have consistently had the same role, it just hasn't been called an "inside forward" in a long time. We use attacking midfielder or deep striker or some other descriptive name.

    To put this in perspective, position (shirt) numbers were first used in England in 1928. Shirt numbers are still not required by the LOTG. By the 1954 world cup finals, the rules required that each player be assigned a fixed number for the tournament, which began the current practice of assigned numbers to players rather than positions. My point is that the generation that grew up with the notion of numbers being associatied with positions are the parents of the baby boomers. As time passes this association will dim in later generations. For the last 30-40 years large numbers of kids have associated numbers with famous personalities. Thanks to TV. At least that is my thinking.
     
  24. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

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    Ran, you've got some glaring inaccuracies in here... ;)

    * Nothing I've gotten this from is "English" commentary. So, there is no "English bias". Brasil had their own unique numbering system as shown below.

    As the above shows, I've only mixed up the 3, 4, 5, 6 - which are different from the FAs numbering.

    * The W-M > diagonal > 4-2-4 shift comes from Austrian, Brasilian, and Hungarian documentation. English teams were still playing W-M after 1966. The 4-2-4 and diagonal were concepts born 10+ years earlier.

    * Numbered shirts were not invented by the English. They were used by the Australians in 1911.


    You keep looking at everything from an "American" perspective - even mentioning baby boomers. This has nothing to do with Americans. We're way late to the party on this one.
     
  25. J-Rod

    J-Rod New Member

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    This is a great discussion. Do you think there would be as heated a debate if we were talking about the 9 or 1 shirt?

    On the practical side, unless you know the other team well, as a rule of thumb you never leave a player with the #10 shirt unmarked. I know center-backs who always want to know where the #10 is at all times. Watch the eyes of good central defensive player who has the responsibility to provide cover in the formation, especially during free kicks. He or she will adjust their position by a step or so to give themselves a little better angle on the 10.

    Also, the #9 shirt will draw attention. As a rule of thumb you are always tight on the #9 in the defensive third. How many times have you heard the keeper yell, tight on 9! I know goalkeepers who if they have a few minutes to watch an opponent will study the 9. Ask them before a game against a team they know, which way does 9 like to turn when he gets the ball, and they will be able to tell you.
     
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