Legendary number 10s: A Parisian tradition
The first two great Parisian number 10s made a huge impact on Rouge et Bleu history. Bernard Guignedoux started it all in a match away to Poitiers on 23 August, 1970 (final score 1-1) and his successor, Jean-Pierre Dogliani, will remain as the heroic captain who led the club to the top flight in 1974.
Better known for his dazzling dribbling skills and his predilection for the number 11 shirt, Mustapha Dahleb nonetheless wore the number 10 in season 19880-1981. His successor, the Yugoslav Ivica Surjak, played a key role in the Coupe de France win in 1982 - in his only season with the club. Safet Susic wore the sacred shirt for nine seasons - from 1982 to 1991, a club record, and remains in the memory of older fans as one of from 1998 to 2002, also thrilled with his dribbling, spectacular goals and amazing first touch. More recently, Benin's Stéphane Sessègnon (2009-2011) and Argentina's Javier Pastore (last season) perpetuated this tradition in the red and blue shirt.
Paris had a goal-scoring number 10 well before the arrival of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede, Paris' all-time top scorer, followed the example of François M’Pelé from the late 70s as well as that of the phenomenal Carlos Bianchi, who began his Parisian career with the number 10 on his back. Ibrahimovic claimed the sacred shirt following the departure of Nenê at the beginning of 2013 and then went on to become the undisputed king of Ligue 1 until his departure in 2016.
Wearing the number 10 for Paris hasn't always assured a player of success… black-gloved Portuguese player Joao Alves, seriously injured after just two matches, left Paris without fulfilling his potential. Argentine Osvaldo Ardiles wore the shirt for just six months before ceding it to Safet Susic. Branko Boskovic had ambitions of becoming the new Susic, but failed to make his mark over two seasons at the club just liked his two successors: Vikash Dhorasoo - despite his goal in the Coupe de France final against Marseille in 2006 - and Argentine playmaker Marcelo Gallardo.
Valdo, Rai, Ronaldinho, Nenê… a now-legendary foursome who established Paris' now immense reputation in Brazil. Valdo led opposition defenders a merry samba in the early 90s before handing the shirt to 'Capitaine Rai'. Ronaldinho wore the number 10 in his final season (2002-2003), scoring exceptional goals in the Classicos against Marseille. Nenê, with his clinical finishing and inch-perfect free-kicks, carried the torch until his departure in 2013. Souza is the Brazilian exception: just 17 matches with Paris in a complicated six months as Paris battled to beat the drop.
Thus Neymar Jr will be making history with the Rouge et Bleu over the next five seasons, perpetuating the tradition of this unique Parisian shirt: the number 10…
Paris' number 10s in chronological order:
Bernard Guignedoux, Eric Renaut, Jean-Pierre Dogliani, Lionel Justier, Jacques Laposte, Francis Piasecki, Carlos Bianchi, François M’Pelé, Armando Bianchi, Joao Alves, Mustapha Dahleb, Ivica Surjak, Osvaldo Ardiles, Safet Susic, Valdo, Rai, Jay-Jay Okocha, Ronaldinho, Branko Boskovic, Vikash Dhorasoo, Stéphane Sessègnon, Nenê, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Pastore, Neymar Jr