Chelsea have confirmed their new squad number for the 2019/20 including who will be wearing the number 10 shirt.
The number 10 is probably the most coveted shirt number in world football thanks to the list of honorable players who have donned it. The likes of Lionel Messi, Pele, and Francesco Totti have all worn the number 10 at some point in their careers and made it their own.
Eden Hazard had previously donned the iconic number at Chelsea before leaving for Real Madrid in the summer, leaving it up for grabs.
Now the blue have officially announced that Willian will switch from his No.22 shirt and the club’s No.10 following the Belgian’s big-money move to Real Madrid.
Willian has been at the club since 2013, but time is against him to live up to other Chelsea stars who have shown their ability with the 10 on the back. Here we look at previous players who have worn this squad number and how they fared during their time in Chelsea blue.
When the Belgian international arrived in West London from French club Lille, he originally was given the number 17 shirt at the club. The number 10 shirt was already taken at the time by Spanish attacking midfielder Juan Mata. When Mata left the club in January 2014, Hazard took the mantle of number 10 and it proved to be a brilliant choice.
We all know he recently completed his dream move to Real Madrid to play under his idol Zinedine Zidane, but during his time at Chelsea wearing the number 10 shirt, Hazard helped Chelsea win a handful of trophies. His first season with the iconic shirt number he won the Premier League title and at the time, Capital One Cup. Since then, he has managed to win the league title again in 2017 and the following season, Hazard scored the winning penalty against Manchester United to win the FA Cup.
Arguably, Chelsea’s greatest ever number 10, Hazard has won 2 Player of the Year awards and 1 PFA Player of the Year award. His final contribution in a number 10 shirt at Chelsea included scoring two Europa League final goals in last season’s final which proved to be a final goodbye to the Chelsea fans.
Chelsea signed Juan Mata from Valencia for £23.5 million, in today’s market for a Spanish playmaker it is a steal. A fan’s favourite straight away, Juan Mata took the batten off Joe Cole in 2011 and continued to help the club to more success.
In his first season, Mata was one of Chelsea’s most influential players, scoring wonder goals and providing assists for Chelsea’s strikers. Mata helped Chelsea reach the Champions League final in Munich where Chelsea won the competition for the first time. The Spanish playmaker provided the assist for Drogba’s late goal, unfortunately, he was the only player to miss in the resulting shoot-out.
The Spaniard won Player of the Year in both of his full seasons at the club before being sold by Jose Mourinho to Manchester United in 2014. When Mata was at Chelsea, he showed his guile and eye for creating goals in which the Chelsea fans were unhappy that club decided to sell him to a rival as they saw him as a fans favourite.
Young prodigy Joe Cole joined from West Ham in 2003 to take the famous jersey. He was one of Claudio Ranieri’s last signings as manager and one of Roman Abramovich’s first as owner when he took over.
The England international wore the number 10 for 7 seasons, winning 3 Premier League titles among other silverware under Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. Cole also started in Chelsea’s first-ever Champions League final in Moscow but he was subbed off in extra time for Nicolas Anelka and the rest is history.
He was plagued with injuries for his final few seasons at the club, where he was allowed to leave Chelsea in 2010 and moved to Merseyside by joining Liverpool.
Cole will always be a Chelsea great and was a part of Chelsea’s best midfields which included Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack, and Claude Makelele.
Now Willian has taken over the number 10 shirt, the number has been worn by many of Chelsea legends in the past with Mark Hughes, Bobby Tambling and Peter Osgood donning the iconic shirt.
However, some Chelsea fans aren’t too pleased in the decision that new head coach Frank Lampard has made. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic – a recent addition to the club following the January transfer window – were among those vying for the no.10 jersey.
Hudson-Odoi, 18, and Pulisic, 20, are the future of Chelsea for many years to come, and with Willian who approaches 31 in a few days, he may not even be in Lampard’s XI. It’s nothing against Willian who is a great player and plays regularly for his national team Brazil, it’s the fact that new head coach Lampard will look at Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi as the long-term solution at Chelsea.
When Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi -who is currently out injured, begin to show their attacking talents, it is hard to see how long Willian with be wearing number 10 in Chelsea blue.
The Brazilian has to pay back the trust that Chelsea have shown in him in wearing the number 10 shirt by performing to his best in the upcoming season. Number 10s may not be as prestigious as other clubs but it’s for certain that Chelsea haven’t wasted it on a mediocre player…apart from Yossi Benayoun.