When Jair da Rosa Pinto entered Maracanã on June 24, 1950 wearing the 10 of the Brazilian team, he barely knew he was wearing the shirt that would become the most important in the history of football. It was Brazil’s debut in the World Cup, against Mexico, and the first time that the team wore shirts with numbers. Today, 10 in Brazil completes 70 years of life. In an unprecedented survey, O GLOBO surveyed all the players who have already worn it in the seven decades of life.
10 in Brazil is 10 in Pelé. Player who wore it the most – 105 times (in eight other games, he used other numbers, including 13, in his debut) – the Santos player made the number and the hopscotch famous. Second, comes Neymar. In his last game for the national team – the friendly against Nigeria, in October last year – he overtook Rivaldo and reached 70 games with Brazil’s 10. Rivellino and Zico complete the top-5. Neymar also became the athlete who wore the shirt the most in a single decade, twice as many as Pelé’s 68 matches in the 1960s. And it could be more: from 2010 to 2011, Neymar was the 11 of the selection, with the 10 being used, most of the times, by Paulo Henrique Ganso.
In all, 111 players were honored to use 10 of the national team: 18 before Pele and 92 after. And the names bring curiosities. Starting with the latter, Lucas Paquetá, of Milan, who was challenged precisely for using the 10 in the last two friendlies. Names that did not make history in the selection are on the list, as the midfielder Carlos Eduardo, currently in Juventude, who had the honor of being the 100th to use the 10 of Brazil, when he played for Rubin Kazan, of Russia.
Other historic Brazilian athletes who were marked with other numbers on the shirt also sweeten the list. Shirt 9 in 1970, Tostão wore it 10 22 times, the 11th he wore the most. Eternalized with the 8 in 1982, Sócrates only used the 10 once, in 1980, as well as Falcão, both contemporaries of Zico. Four-time champion with 7, Bebeto was 10 twice and even Ronaldo, the Phenomenon, symbol of shirt 9, was 10 in a friendly match in 1994 against Yugoslavia.
The ranking of who most used the 10 of the selection has Pele as leader for 58 years. In May 1962, Brazil beat Portugal at Maracanã with his goal, which reached its 28th game with the number, overtaking Didi to never be overtaken.
Pelé is also the first player to use the 10 defending a foreign team in a sad and curious story: in 1976, Geraldo, a Flamengo player, died at the age of 22, victim of an anaphylactic shock. Shortly before his death, he had used 10 of the selection twice. A friendly match was scheduled in his honor between Flamengo and the Brazilian team and Pelé, who played for New York Cosmos, returned to wear his shirt.
Zico was the first player to use the 10 belonging to a European team, something recurring today. It was in 1985, when he worked for Udinese. Galinho also has the sequence record with the historic shirt: from a game against Venezuela in February 1981 to a victory against Chile in April 1983, no one but him wore the shirt. There were 25 games.
In all, 68 games of the Brazilian team did not have the number 10 on the field, either because he was on the bench and did not enter, or because he was injured. And that happened in historical games, like in the 1962 World Cup final, when Brazil won the double (Pelé, injured, did not play), and in the 7 to 1 for Germany in the 2014 World Cup (Neymar was injured in the game previous). A historic shirt that, in its 70 years of life, it learned even when it was time to hide.