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Barcelona have finally found their next no. 10

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Photo copyright © Barca Universal

Apart from the obvious tasks on the table that constitute finding a new manager to replace Xavi, offloading players to raise money through player sales, and finalising the shirt sponsor for next season, Barcelona will have another big task on their hands.

With several La Masia talents breaking through the team this season, Barcelona will likely look to promote a few of them permanently to the first-team next season.

For the summer, there are two players, especially, leading the charge for promotion. Namely, Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi.

Both players have taken the sport by storm this season for club and country, and will likely be receiving a first-team number in the summer.

Especially Yamal, who has the world at this feet as was proven with his performance against Brazil this week.

And from a lot of outlooks, it seems the left-footed right-winger is heading towards an obvious jersey number selection.

Footsteps of his idol

Yamal has stated time and again that the one man he considers to be his idol in the sport is none other than the greatest player of all time — Lionel Messi.

The greatest. (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Argentine donned the garnet and blue for more than a decade and won everything under the sun, while wearing arguably the most iconic number in sporting history – the #10.

And if reports are to be believed, Barcelona are ready to give the jersey to Yamal once this season clocks up.

There may be a lot of debate surrounding it, and rightly so, given Yamal is only 16, and will playing his second-ever professional season. The pressure that may come with it could be costly, but the decision also makes sense from marketing perspective.

The biggest La Masia talent since Leo himself?

Partly due to the similarities in his playing style to Leo Messi himself, and partly because of how he has dealt with pressure while keeping his craft alive, Yamal has been hailed as arguably the biggest talent to come out of La Masia in decades.

A player of his potential deserves to be treated like royalty, and should be awarded with the #10 shirt.

Further, as the club with the highest shirt sales in the world, leaving the most important number vacant for another season could be considered a poor marketing decision.

Not to mention that for Barcelona, in this situation, every penny counts. And the Yamal #10 shirt could be a huge contributor to the cause.

Protection from pressure

Firstly, it must be noted that while there have been several absolute trailblazers who have worn the #10 for Barcelona over the decades, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, and of course, Leo, the shirt has also gone to numerous players who have been forgotten.

That is not to say Yamal is heading that way. Quite the contrary, in fact. But, the pressure of a few having worn that shirt should not mean the club stops taking risks, especially with home-grown talent.

There are other ways through which Barcelona can shield Yamal from the pressure, including not using him like a bar of soap every weekend.

Ansu Fati — the last player to don the #10 — could have benefitted with some better management, as well, and if not anything else, the fans can hope the club have learnt their lesson to some extent.

Either way, Yamal seems to be ticking all the boxes as the capable successor to Lionel Messi’s throne, but the first step to the passing of the torch has to be trusting he can do justice to the legendary #10.

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