FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Nike
The number has been occupied by Ansu Fati since 2021, with reports spreading that the Spain international would have handed back the hallowed jersey to Messi if he embarked on a second stint in Catalonia.
That didn’t come to fruition, with Messi instead opting to join Inter Miami and not wait around for the Blaugrana to get their house in order and navigate Financial Fair Play.
When revealing his decision to the Catalan media, the club legend explained that he didn’t want to have any part in Barca players taking pay cuts or being sold to make this happen.
One of the players put on the market was Ansu Fati, and while a permanent sale wasn’t possible, the former teenage prodigy has been shipped off on loan to Brighton in the Premier
The development resulted in the 10 jersey going vacant for 2023/2024, with loanee arrival Joao Felix instead taking the number 14 once donned by Johan Cruyff.
In past months, El Nacional reported that Nike put pressure on Barca to hand Fati’s 10 jersey and that it would go to 16-year-old wonderkid Lamine Yamal.
Now, though, according to the Catalan paper, it appears that the Brazilian ‘Little Tiger’ will take the shirt with Nike already on board with the development.
President Joan Laporta apparently plans to do the honors when Vitor Roque arrives in January from Athletico Paranaense as part of an agreement worth €30 million ($32 million) plus €31 million ($33.2 million) in variables.
If the report is accurate, it would appear to be the right course of action aside from putting pressure on Vitor Roque to wear a shirt that is arguably the heaviest in the Barca locker room.
With Vitor Roque able to play a number of positions on the front line, it makes more sense for him to have the 10 than Lamine Yamal, a winger.
As their futures are uncertain amid his emergence, a potential exit of either Raphinha or Ferran Torres could release either the number 7 or number 11 shirt more fitting of his role in future transfer windows.