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Explain: Why can Barcelona not withdraw Messi’s jersey number 10 – what does the La Liga rule say?

Goal looks at the La Liga rule regarding group numbers that the Spanish clubs assign to their players …

Lionel Messi’s transfer from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain was one of the biggest developments in the ongoing summer transfer window.

The Argentine superstar ended his 21-year relationship with the Catalan giants after ending his contract with the club in the summer of 2021. free transfer.

It was an emotional rift between the two parties. Although both parties wanted to renew the contract, financial constraints forced Barcelona to abandon their most capable footballer ever. The club loyalists were also very discouraged when they looked at the departure of the Argentine star. There were even demands among several quarters of the fanbase to step out of Messi’s iconic number 10 shirt.

The jersey of a club legend is not uncommon in the football world. Napoli retired Diego Maradona’s number 10 shirt after the legend left the club, and New York Cosmos also retired Pele’s jersey number 10. Italian clubs such as AC Milan and AS Roma also did the same when Paolo Maldini and Francisco Totti retired from their respective clubs.

But unfortunately Barcelona, ​​despite the popular demand, could not step down from Messi’s jersey, and there is a reason for that.

Why can Barcelona not remove Messi’s number 10 shirt, and what’s the La Liga rule?

The La Liga rules on the number of the group clearly state that players in the senior team of all clubs must hand over jerseys between 1 and 25, one of which must be assigned to a goalkeeper. Each club may include a total of 25 players in their squad, including three goalkeepers. In addition to jersey number 1, goalkeepers can also assign jerseys 13 and 25.

If a club decides in the middle of the season to register a player from the reserve side, they can get a number between 26 and 50.

Lionel Messi Barcelona

Even if Barcelona want to retire the number 10 shirt in honor of Messi, it will not be possible, as it will assign the number to a senior team player. If they subtract the number, they will not be able to register more than 24 players in the league team.

This is a similar case for Real Madrid, who also parted ways with star defender and club legend Sergio Ramos this summer. Ramos, like Messi, also joined PSG. So, even if Real Madrid want to, they can not retire the iconic jersey number 4 of Ramos.

What is the rule in Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga?

The rules in England, Italy and Germany on the number of players are much softer than those of La Liga.

Premier League

In the Premier League, any team number can be assigned to a player. Legendary English defender John Terry wore the number 26 shirt during his time at Chelsea. Italian forward Mario Balotelli wore the number 45 shirt in Manchester City and Liverpool.

Balotelli Lambert Liverpool

There are even cases in clubs in the Premier League where a defender has worn a number 9 shirt that is traditionally reserved for the club’s main striker. Dutch defender Khalid Boulharouz wore the number 9 jersey at Chelsea when he joined the Blues in 2006.


In Germany, the rules were very strict for assigning group numbers to players. Until the 1994/95 season, players from Bundesliga clubs did not get a number, as they would get a team number according to the eleven of the clubs. According to the rule, 1 to 11 jerseys were awarded to the 11 players who played in a specific match, also according to their positions. So, just when a player appears in the starting lineup or a match team, they get a jersey number.

Kimmich Max Bavaria Augsuburg

Since the 2011/12 season, the rules have been relaxed and the league has started allowing clubs to assign a number between 1 and 40 to their players, 1 of which is reserved for a goalkeeper.

A League

In Italy, the rules are completely relaxed as the clubs can assign any jersey number to a player. When Brazilian legend Ronaldinho joined AC Milan in 2008, he chose to wear the number 80 shirt. At Parma, legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon wore number 77 shirt.

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