Barcelona will refuse to provide Messi’s number ten to any player this season

Barcelona want Lionel Messi‘s iconic number 10 shirt to remain unassigned throughout the 2021/22 season, according to reports in Spain.

Messi left the club for Paris Saint-Germain last month after it was revealed that his new contract could not be approved due to LaLiga restrictions on player registration.

Barca president Joan Laporta revealed earlier this week that the club are in an astonishing €1.35 billion (£1.15bn) of debt, and salaries represent 103% of the club’s income – both of which led to Messi’s departure.

Spanish outlet SPORT says that the number 10 shirt, which was worn by Messi for 13 years, will not be assigned to another player this season.

They add that the only case in which it would be assigned as if Barca were required to use the number. In that case, it would be given to a graduate of La Masia.

LaLiga rules state that each club must assign their senior squad numbers between 1 and 25.

Players promoted from the academy, but not registered in the initial senior squad, are given a number between 26 and 50.

That means if Barca were to elect to withhold the number 10 shirt, they would have to register a 24-man squad.

There were previously rumours that Philippe Coutinho would be given the number 10 shirt.

His number 14 shirt was given to forward Rey Manaj prior to the opening game of the season.

The Brazilian has been linked with a move away from Barca this summer. Fellow Spanish outlet El Gol Digital have reported that Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are both interested in signing him.

Barcelona are next in LaLiga action on Saturday. They travel to Estadio San Mames to take on Athletic Bilbao.

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