“The number 10 is a special shirt, it is an honour to wear it, it brings with it a great sense of responsibility, a sense of belonging to the history of a club like Juventus FC…For me today having the number 10 shirt on me, on my skin, not only is it a dream come true, since I was a child, but it is also an ever greater commitment that I feel inside me to carry my team to victory in every game, in every competition, for every trophy.”
– Paulo Dybala
The above quote from Paulo Dybala underlines the significance of the number ten shirt at Juventus.
It is regarded as one of the most famous and well-respected shirts in football, with a number of club legends and some all-time greats wearing the coveted jersey.
So, here we take a look at the eight best to have slipped on the famous shirt…
8. Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba was so good at Juventus that Manchester United were willing to part ways with £89m in order to bring their academy product back to Old Trafford.
Pogba made the switch to Turin as he looked to kickstart his career, but many were perhaps expecting him to struggle for game time – considering the strength of the Bianconeri’s midfield at the time. The Frenchman quickly established himself in the centre of the park, however, and was later handed the number ten shirt for the 2015/16 season.
He enjoyed his best campaign yet in his new jersey, grabbing ten goals and 14 assists. But it was his overall game that was most impressive. His tally of 12 assists in Serie A was the joint-most of any player, while he ranked second in the division in terms of completed dribbles and he made a career high number of interceptions.
Pogba was thriving in the black and white jersey, but when United came calling again, he gave up the number ten shirt after just one season.
7. Paulo Dybala
When Paulo Dybala first joined the club, he was given the number 21 shirt. The Argentinian was regarded as a potential star of the future, and the club had high hopes for him.
And Dybala was given the chance to switch to the number ten jersey for the 2016/17 season, but he wanted to keep hold of his 21 shirt. However, when he was presented with the chance once again the following season, it was an opportunity he could not refuse for a second time.
Dybala’s talents were there for all to see, but after a difficult 2018/19 campaign, he was linked with a move away from the club. No deal ever materialised, however, and Dybala has come back stronger than ever. In 2019/20, he has managed 13 goals and 12 assists in just 34 appearances in all competitions. In total for Juve, the 26-year-old has 91 goals and 36 assists to his name after 216 appearances.
A certain Claudio Marchisio has also recently claimed that Dybala is, in fact, one of the best ever players to have worn the shirt. High praise, indeed.
6. Carlos Tevez
Tevez swapped the blue half of Manchester for Turin in the summer of 2013, arriving for around £12m. The Argentinian was assigned the number ten shirt, but even greater pressure was placed on him considering the fact he was taking over from Alessandro Del Piero (more on him later).
Tevez scored on his debut against Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana before netting the winner on his league debut. Juventus went on to win the league crown, with Tevez finishing the campaign as the team’s top goalscorer with 21 goals in all competitions. His fine performances also saw him named Juventus’ Player of the Season.
The former Manchester United and City player was again a key figure during the 2014/15 campaign, helping guide them to the Champions League final, as well as a league and cup double for the first time in two decades.
Overall, Tevez went on to score 50 goals in 95 games for the Bianconeri before departing for Boca Juniors.
5. Liam Brady
Liam Brady may have spent just two seasons in Turin with Juventus, but his time there is remembered fondly. Brady notably scored the winning goal – a penalty – with 15 minutes remaining in a 1-0 victory against Catanzaro to win the Scudetto in 1982.
Brady was renowned not only as a true gentleman of the beautiful game, but also a wonderfully gifted footballer. Sure, Brady was the ultimate professional, but it was his performances that helped Juventus to lift league titles in back-to-back seasons.
4. Roberto Baggio
Il Divin Codino joined the Bianconeri in 1990 for a world record transfer fee. It may have taken some time, but Baggio went on to win the hearts of the Juventus faithful, with his stellar displays and leadership skills taking centre stage – eventually being named as captain.
During his time at the club, he operated as a second striker or in the advanced playmaker role, and it was his versatility that made him such a threat. In his 200 appearances for the club, Baggio scored 115 times – a tally any out-and-out striker would be proud of, let alone a versatile forward. He helped the Turin-based side win the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup before joining Milan.
3. Omar Sivori
Sivori was the original number ten.
He was audacious, he was brilliant, and he was lethal in front of goal. Sivori joined in 1957 and went on to form a menacing partnership with John Charles. During his first season at the club, he scored 31 goals in just 40 league and cup appearances – helping guide Juve to the Scudetto.
Sivori had a stunning strike rate at Juve, grabbing 135 goals in just 215 league games for the club. But his game was so much more than just scoring goals, and his stellar displays saw him pick up the Ballon d’Or in 1961.
2. Michel Platini
Although Roma pipped Juventus to the Scudetto in 1982/83, new recruit Platini scored an impressive 28 goals in 48 games.
But this was just the start, because Platini would quickly go on to become one of the greatest footballers of all time. He may now be remembered as a disgraced former UEFA president, but this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stop to acknowledge Platini’s simply astonishing ability as a footballer.
This was a player that won the Ballon d’Or not once, not twice, but three times. And in consecutive years? Well, that just sums it all up, really. 104 goals in 223 games for Juve…from midfield isn’t exactly a bad total either, is it?
1. Alessandro Del Piero
When Del Piero left the club in 2012, he said that he hopes the number ten shirt will be a less of a burden after him. The only problem, however, was that Del Piero spent a truly incredible 18 years donning the shirt, and so it would be pretty hard for future players to ever live up to such heights.
There were even cries for the jersey to be retired.
Del Piero joined Juventus in 1993, but he wouldn’t take up the shirt immediately. The Italian went on to become a true legend of the club, becoming their all-time top goalscorer with 290 goals. He also played more games (705) than any other player.
Make no mistake about it, Del Piero was a truly sublime player, but it was his loyalty and connection with the club that was so special. Two Scudetti titles (2005 and 2006) were taken away during the Calciopoli scandal and Juve were relegated to Serie B. But instead of heading straight for the exit door, Del Piero stayed to captain his side – and he was also top scorer as he guided them straight back up.
Loyalty. Passion. Class. Del Piero is an undisputed legend, and the number ten shirt will forever be associated with his name.
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