Zico thinks the number ’10’ shirt is too heavy for Neymar

Cristiano Ronaldo
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are named in The Fifa FifPro World XI during The Best FIFA Football Awards Show on October 23, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Brazilian legend Zico, reflected on how difficult it is for Neymar to wear the mythical number ’10’ jersey for Brazil and his club as well.

The number ’10’ jersey that Neymar wears has perhaps the biggest weight and history in Brazil than any other National Team in history, this is the same number that players such as Pele, Zico, Rivaldo, or Ronaldinho have worn.

The mere thought of this type of player who wears the number came from O’Rei himself, the perfect all-around offensive player who can carry the team on his shoulders and becomes the star of the show in every match.

Pele was all that in every squad that he played, he was a natural-born playmaker and several other compatriots with a similar set of skills honored the same number in the Brazilian National Team throughout history.

Zico might perhaps be the one player who came the closest to the significance that Pele had for his country, he believes that this jersey is too heavy for Neymar today, he thinks the PSG player should play on his ideal position and not even worry about being the team’s playmaker because this responsibility is proving to be a bit much for what he can accomplish.

Neymar is a natural-born winger who is one of the best in the world in that position, but his managers have bestowed the number ’10’ upon him and limited his potential.

“Neymar usually doesn’t play in this role [as a 10],” Zico said via Four Four Two.

“He is a wing player, and always has been. They [clubs] give him a number 10 because there is a big meaning in life of a great name of the Brazilian team.”

“Maybe, the only one that went out of this was Romario, a born striker that had the option for 11. But, every forward from every club chose the number 10 because it was the big representing of the great name of the club. The clubs themselves made a point of it.”

“So, the number 10 jersey had a weight, not only in the national team, but in Brazil. The big reference. He was the team’s star, so he received the number 10.”

“I think Neymar has this situation, [it is] obvious he has more pressure. Every great player is more outstanding in the victory, but has more pressure in defeats. But he is an exceptional player. He has a talent like few in world football. I put him at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.”

“It is not the jersey of the Brazilian team, it is Pele’s jersey,” he added.

“The biggest player of the world’s football history! This is the problem.”

EIBAR, SPAIN - MAY 19: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between SD Eibar and FC Barcelona at Ipurua Municipal Stadium on May 19, 2019 in Eibar, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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The Barcelona manager believes the Argentinean superstar is focused more on delivering results for the team than in personal objectives.

“The pressure is this: everybody thinks that who wears this shirt has to do what Pele has done! It’s cowardice with any player!”

“The problem is – do not get carried away by this, or try to compare to this. The problem is letting people know that you play different, in another way and with different characteristics,” he concluded.

In the more inevitable comparison with two historical stars such as Messi or Ronaldo, Neymar has a very different type of pressure when compared to the other two.

The Portuguese forward and the Argentine star have always enjoyed their freedom as wingers, they have been the ones who simply decided to change their position in time but never as a burden when compared to Neymar.

The Brazilian hasn’t really been able to pick his role in the squad, as everybody assumed that he would fit the skipper’s role instantly and nobody even seemed to ask him for his opinion.

In order to see the differences between the number ’10’ Neymar and his version as a winger, all we need to do is watch some tapes of his football when Messi was injured at Barcelona and manager Luis Enrique left him at the wing but gave him more responsibility.

It’s pretty obvious that the Brazilian player is way more decisive with no pressure and even a different number, but there is no way that he will change it at this point in his career.

Neymar is about to embark himself on the biggest challenge of his career during the most critical years, it will be interesting to see if he is up to the test.

How far do you think Neymar will get with Brazil while wearing the number ’10’ jersey? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.

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