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Why was 10 retired from soccer? (Opinion)


Football was clearer, cleaner and more beautiful with the man in the tailcoat and hat. But they extinguished it.

“The ball is always at 10, another miracle will happen,” says the lyrics of the song ‘What is God?’, the Argentine rock band ‘Las Pastillas del Abuelo’, dedicated to Maradona.

How much truth in sentence. Pelé, Zico, Maradona, Platini, Laudrup, Baggio, Hagi, Valderrama, Zidane, Ronaldinho and Messi knew how to patent it. The number 10 in football was — no longer — a kind of irrefutable deity. Whoever wore that number had to know how to respect it with clean reception of the ball, jealous protection of it, organization of the game, opening of spaces, imagination two seconds ahead of the rival, peripheral vision and a clinical eye to filter the pass of the last play. He was the irreplaceable brain of the team.

, subject to the whim of man, has been in charge of extinguishing the lord of the tailcoat and hat. The only player on the court with the same license as a magician to steal the show in front of the spotlight and the astonishment of the public.

Colombia also had them. He also knew about them. And he exhibited them in America, to some, and throughout the world, to others. Jairo Arboleda, one of them is called. They call him the ‘Master’. Diego Édinson Umaña is another. It was distinguished by a gigantic afro, but not as much as it looked by the fantasy of its legs. Then came the ‘Mono’, the ‘Pibe’, Carlos Valderrama. It remains an icon. When in Europe, Asia or Africa you say “Colombia”, the other responds “Valderrama”. Alex Escobar was his parallel. He had the misfortune to play at the same time. But it was the other ‘Pibe’, the one from the Obrero neighborhood. And what about Bernardo Redín ?, “an 8 disguised as 10”, as defined by the former player and coach ‘Checho’ Angulo. We could not forget Giovanni Hernández, the ‘Prince’, not with the blue blood of Francescoli, but of the nobility.

Since Valderrama left Colombia’s 10, that number has passed from one back to another. Who currently has it, even if he does not play and has been caught by other pleasures, is James. But James, in essence, is not 10. Midfielder some say to this type of player. The same, a crack. A crack when you want.

When James is not there, the person in charge of ideas is Juan Fernando Quintero. And when Juan Fernando is not ready, ideas do not exist.
This is one of the great ailments of Reinaldo Rueda’s Colombia. In the Selection there is no brain. There is no magician dressed in a tailcoat and hat. There is skill with Luis Díaz and with Cuadrado, but not a genius. Not the one who picks up the ball and pulls the strings. Not the one that assumes leadership and drags the team. Not the one who takes his classmates over his shoulder and makes them speak the same language. Not the one that is able to see the only space where only the ball fits so that it becomes a goal at the feet of the striker. And then, the crossed balls and the balls from all sides emerge as the only formula. As it happened against Uruguay. Against Brazil. Against Ecuador.

I do not know football as I would like. I will never measure up to a technician. I write as a fan. As a journalist. And I wonder, every game, not only in Colombia, but in any other team or club in America and Europe, what happened to 10? Who did he bore? Why did they retire him? Football was clearer, cleaner and more beautiful with the man in the tailcoat and hat. Sure.

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