Football number 10 – Everything you need to know!

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Football number 10 is one of the most exciting and creative positions. With coaches traditionally giving more freedom to their number 10 players, aspiring soccer players that want to get out and play and have the freedom to make their own decisions will thrive in this vitally important position.

In this post, we will explain everything about number 10 football and how to play as a number 10 when your team is in and out of possession. We’ll also talk about some of the best number 10 players from around the world.

What position is the football number 10?

football number 10

The number 10 position in soccer is an attacking midfielder. It is the most offensive central midfielder on the team. Number 10 players play in front of the other central midfielders, just behind the forward line. The number 10 role is also referred to as an attacking central midfielder or ACM.

In most cases, teams will play with just one number 10. Sometimes, however, there may be two number 10 positions on a team, such as Ralph Rangnicks 4-2-2-2 formation. Number 10 players try to find pockets of space to receive and create ‘in between the lines of their opponents (a phrase used to describe the areas between their defensive & midfield units).

Although classed as central midfielders, number 10 players are given the freedom to roam around the field. They can often pop up in wide areas to combine with their teammates to create chances for themselves and other players.

Why the Number 10 Jersey Is Considered to Be So Significant

The prestige attached to the number 10 jersey has primarily developed from the fact that some of the greatest players in the history of soccer have accomplished their most outstanding achievements while wearing the number 10 on their backs.

Players such as Pele, Maradona, Messi, and so many more of the all-time greats all wore that number at the height of their careers.

As fans from all over the world watched them perform feats that went beyond anything they had seen before, the number 10 jersey was regularly reinforced as being associated with only the best players.

As kids throughout the world kick a ball about with their friends, they all imagine being one of these greats and wearing the number 10 jersey for their team.

It’s also the fact that the role of a player in the position of a number 10 is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining positions to play in or to watch.

How to play as a number 10 in football?

Qualities to be a good footballer number 10

The number 10 position in soccer is often occupied by the most creative player in the team and has the most responsibility for breaking through against stubborn and compact opponents. As such, the person playing this position must have the following qualities:

  • Have good imagination and flair, along with excellent vision and awareness.
  • They must be extremely comfortable on the ball and be positive and proactive in their movement as they look to create space for themselves, receive the ball and make things happen.
  • Be able to pass and receive with both feet.
  • Be brave and confident in making difficult and inventive passes to create chances for their teammates.
  • Have the tenacity to keep on trying even when their attempts to create are not quite coming off.
  • Have excellent timing and be able to make late runs into their opponent’s penalty area.
  • Be calm in front of goal and able to score as well as assist.

How to play football number 10 when attacking

The number 10 has an incredibly important role when their team is attacking and in possession of the ball, particularly in the final third of the field. Their primary responsibility is to create goal-scoring opportunities for both themself and their teammates. To do this successfully and consistently, a good number 10 should:

  • Constantly scan the field, taking mental images of what is around them so they can make quick and positive decisions upon receiving the ball. Coaches will often use the term ‘having your head on a swivel’ to indicate the necessity of continually looking around the field in all directions.
  • Try to find space and receive the ball between the opponent’s defensive line of players and their midfield line.
  • Be able to play passes quickly, sometimes with only one or two touches, to impede the ability of the opponent’s defense to react and organize.
  • Look for opportunities to shoot from a distance in and around the edge of the penalty box.
  • Look to support other attacking players quickly when they receive the ball, particularly when they are under pressure.
  • Make ‘third man runs’ behind the striker and the opponent’s defense to get on the end of through balls from other players.

How to play football number 10 when defending

Although the number 10 is primarily an attacking position, they still have an essential role when the team is defending or not in possession of the ball. When defending as a number 10, the player’s primary responsibility is to stop their opponents from getting the ball out from the back, although they may have to defend deeper in their own half, too. To successfully defend as a number 10 player, a player should:

  • Support the other players when they press the ball by acting as a second or third defender and helping the team remain compact.
  • When the team is not pressing the ball, cut off passing lanes and spaces so the defense cannot make an easy pass forward (see image).
  • Put high pressure on the opponent’s number 6 and limit their opportunities on the ball.
  • Be prepared to drop back and provide additional defensive support, particularly when the team is getting outnumbered in the middle of the park.

Famous number 10 football players

The best strikers in the world of soccer have worn the number 10 jersey. This is the ultimate list of the best-ever goal-scorers in the game. These 10s have amazed the world with their skills, let’s take a look at the top number 10 players in football.

Lionel Messi

An agile soccer player, Messi is from Argentina and currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain. He is often widely regarded as the best soccer player in the world.

He has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards and a record of six European Golden shoes. In 2020, he was named to the Ballon d’Or Dream team.

Since the 2008/09 season, Messi, donning number 10 has been a constant in Barcelona’s first eleven. At Barcelona, he won a club-record 35 trophies, among them ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey, and four Champions League titles.

A creative playmaker and prolific goal scorer, he holds a record for the most goals in:

  • La Liga – 474 goals
  • European league season – 50 goals

Most hat tricks in:

  • La Liga – 36
  • UEFA Championship league – 8

Most assists in:

  • La Liga – 192
  • La Liga season – 21
  • Copa America – 17

He also holds a record for most international goals by a South American male – 80. Messi has the most goals by a player for a single club, having 750 senior career goals.

His elusive tricks and electrifying talent with the ball put him in a class of his own.


Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, is a former Brazilian professional soccer player who played as a forward. He started playing soccer for Santos at the age of 15 and the Brazil national team at 16.

Pele is among the numerous players who have worn number 10 jerseys and shined with them in the arena football. He won three FIFA World Cups during his international career, including 1958, 1962, and 1970. Pele is the only player to accomplish such a feat in history.

In addition, he is an all-time leading Brazil goal scorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. Amazingly, he scored 643 goals from 659 games at the club level, averaging a goal per game throughout his career.

He was the Athlete of the century by International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time Magazine list of the most important person in the 20th century. Additionally, in 2000, he was voted the World Player of the Century by the IFFHS.

His 1279 goals in 1363 games, including friendlies, are recognized as a Guinness World Record.

Pele was adept at striking the ball with either foot and anticipating opponents’ moves in the field. Also, predominantly a striker, he would drop deep and take on a playmaking role, providing assists with his vision and passing ability and using his dribbling skills to go past his opponents.

He is a national hero because of his accomplishments in soccer and is recognized as a humanitarian for supporting policies that improve the social condition of the poor. In addition, he is an inspiration to many for becoming the first black global sporting star.

Diego Maradona

Diego Armando Maradona was born in 1960 and died on 25th November 2020 due to a heart attack. He was a professional Argentine soccer player and manager. He is regarded as among the greatest soccer players in history, having won the FIFA player of the 20th century.

At the age of 8, Maradona caught the eye of a talent scout while playing in his neighborhood club Estrella Roja. At 12 years old, he amused spectators as he wizardly rocked the ball.

Maradona operates the classic number 10 position. He played for various teams, including Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, and Newell’s Old Boys.

He most stood out when he played for Napoli, winning several awards. In his international career with Argentina, he was capped 91 times and managed 34 goals. In addition, he played in four FIFA World cups in 1982, 1986, 1990, and 1994.

He won several recognitions, such as The Golden Ball, as the best soccer player of the year from 1979-1981 FIFA.

Maradona saw the back of the net 312 times in his career and recorded eight goals and eight assists in 21 World Cup appearances, earning him a place as the second goal scorer of Argentina.

When he was in the field, his presence and leadership were felt. As a result, he had an enormous impact on his team’s general performance.

Maradona’s vision, wizard-like ball control, passing, and dribbling skills made him stand out and make a name for himself in the soccer arena. Interestingly, his short stature made him maneuver better than most players on the field.

He was also referred to as a free-kick specialist. Due to his talent, he was given the nickname “El Pibe de Oro,” which means golden boy.

Rivaldo Vitor Boba Ferreira

Rivaldo is a former professional Brazilian soccer player who wore the number 10 jersey and played as an attacking midfielder and a second striker. He was born on 19th April 1972 and started his career at a young age.

He is among the best ten strikers. When he played with Barcelona, he won the Spanish league twice and the Copa del Ray.

He also won the UEFA Championship with AC Milan. Rivaldo is known for his great exploits with the Brazil national team, with whom he won the World Cup in 2002 and a runner-up in 1998.

In 1999, Rivaldo won the Ballon d’Or and was named FIFA World Player of the Year. Additionally, in 2004, he was named by Pele in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.

He was famous for his ability to bend free-kicks, execute bicycle kicks, and his powerful ball kicking from a distance. His ability to score and create goals was outstanding.

He was one of the best left-footed specialists but could play either wing and strike the ball with either foot. His fast speed and shooting accuracy mesmerized many.

Neymar Da Silva Junior

Neymar is a Brazilian professional soccer player who plays a forward for the Ligue1 club, Paris Saint-German, and the Brazil national team. He was offered the number 10 jersey by the national team as a welcome gift by Javier Pastore.

Neymar made his first professional appearance at the age of 17 at Santo, where he helped the club win the Campeonato Paulista championships twice successively, Copa do Brasil and the 2011 Copa Libertadores.

Named twice as the South American player of the year in 2011 and 2012, he relocated to join Barcelona, where he won Copa del Ray and the UEFA Championship league and finished third in the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2015 for his exemplary performance.

He then transferred to PSG at a fee of 222 million Euros, making him the most expensive player so far. He has won 70 goals in 116 matches for Brazil. His confidence on the field, excellent body control, quick reflexes, and explosive speed makes him stand out.


There are few numbers in soccer that carry such significance or admiration as the football number 10. Some of the greatest players in history have worn this number on the back of their jerseys. And some of the greatest moments in the game have been created by a player wearing the number 10.

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