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Lionel Messi’s recent move to Paris Saint Germain came as a surprise to many in the footballing world. Another small surprise that came with this big move was Messi’s choice in regards to his jersey number.
It was an intriguing moment when Lionel Messi’s PSG jersey no. was revealed to be number 30. Many people were expecting Messi to take Neymar’s no. 10 jersey (the latter offered to let Messi take the number 10).
For the few who believed that Messi would take up a different number, no. 19 would have been his obvious choice. This was the number he wore for about two seasons earlier on in his Barcelona career.
But surprise, surprise! Messi went for the number 30 jersey! However, this is not any ordinary number, it is special to the player.
So, what’s the story behind Messi opting to go for the number 30 jersey at PSG? Keep reading to know more details about why Messi is now wearing number 30.
Friendship with Ronaldinho and Deco
It is a widely known fact that Lionel Messi is a humble and quite quiet person off the pitch. Messi proved his promising talent on the pitch from a young age, but his status was still low to make him a legend at Barcelona.
Among the first squad superstars at Barcelona, two Barcelona players, Ronaldinho and his friend Deco saw Messi’s desire to learn and promising potential. The duo chose to take the young Messi under their wings and showed him the ways of the game on and off the pitch.
The two took turns driving Messi to train and even had him share a meal together whenever they were eating. Messi drew a lot of lessons during these interactions.
When Lionel Messi finally made it to the first team, one of the things he had to decide was his jersey number. He went for number 30 which is not random at all – it was the sum of his two mentors’ numbers (20+10).
Ronaldinho wore number 10 at the time with Deco donning the number 20 jersey.
Messi’s Barcelona debut
La Pulga as he was fondly known played his first legitimate game for Barcelona on October 16, 2004. He played in the first team. It was during the Catalan derby versus Espanyol.
Messi came on for his mentor, Deco who had scored the game’s only goal. It was at this match that he tasted victory as part of the first team for the first time thanks to his icon’s goal.
Amazingly, his current manager at PSG (Mauricio Pochettino) also played on Messi’s debut but as an Espanyol player.
Messi’s first goal for Barcelona
On May 1, 2005, Barcelona played against Albacete where they claimed a 2-0 victory. Young Messi came on as a substitute when his side was 1-0 up in the second half.
Two minutes after coming on, Messi latched onto a pass and made it 2-0 for Barcelona. He was wearing the number 30 jersey during that game. That marked the start of an impressive career goal haul of 671 for Barcelona!
Now, with the insight from the above information, it now makes sense why Messi turned down Neymar’s offer to let him take up the number 10 jersey at PSG.
The new number also symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter for a player who has for a long time been criticized for being a one-team player. We wish him all the best in his new challenge.
Regardless of what happens, he’ll still go down in history as one of the greatest football players of all time if not the best.
Leave your thoughts on Messi’s new tenure in the comments section below.