LaLiga say Barcelona can’t retire Messi’s number 10 shirt

Barcelona will be unable to retire Lionel Messi‘s famous number 10 shirt unless they permanently give up a space in their senior squad.

LaLiga rules state that each team must assign their senior squad numbers between one and 25.

In the case of players being promoted from the academy, they are assigned a number between 26 and 50. For instance, centre-back Oscar Mingueza featured regularly in the senior team last season, but as he wasn’t registered in the initial squad, he took shirt number 28.

It is worth noting that Barca did not carry a full complement of 25 players in their squad throughout last season.

The number 25 shirt was left vacant, whilst Carles Alena – the holder of the number six shirt – was loaned out to Getafe in January.

That means that the iconic number 10 – worn by Messi since the departure of Ronaldinho in 2008 – is likely to be donned by another player next season, unless Barca chose to go into the season with a vacant squad spot.

Barca announced on Thursday that Messi would be leaving the club. Despite reaching an agreement to sign a new contract, the club stated the signing could not happen because of LaLiga regulations on player registration.

The Athletic revealed on Sunday that Messi has agreed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain, with a net salary of €25 million per year.

Messi on Barcelona departure

He gave an emotional press conference in Barcelona at the weekend, stating that he did not want to leave the club.

He said: “I was convinced we were going to stay, which is what we all wanted, but today it turns out I have to say goodbye.

“I never imagined I’d be saying goodbye because I never thought I’d leave.

“It’s even stranger due to the pandemic and playing without fans. I have always felt the love of the fans though and hopefully I’ll be back at some point.

In answer to a later question, he added: “Everything was arranged with [Joan] Laporta and the club but it wasn’t possible in the end and that’s all there is to it.

“A lot was said and from my part I wanted to stay as well, but it just couldn’t be done because of things to do with LaLiga.”

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