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Soccer: Barcelona gives Lionel Messi's No. 10 to Ansu Fati

Ansu Fati (L), who previously wore Nos. 22 and 17, will switch to No. 10 after the departure of star teammate Lionel Messi. Photo by Alejandro Garcia/EPA-EFE
Ansu Fati (L), who previously wore Nos. 22 and 17, will switch to No. 10 after the departure of star teammate Lionel Messi. Photo by Alejandro Garcia/EPA-EFE

Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Ansu Fati will be the next Barcelona player to wear the iconic No. 10 jersey, following the departure of star striker Lionel Messi, Barcelona announced Wednesday.

"After wearing the No. 22 then 17, the young Barca striker will proudly wear the No. 10 shirt -- a famous jersey previously worn by legends such as Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo," Barcelona said in a news release.

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Messi signed a two-year contract with French Ligue 1 team Paris Saint-Germain last month. He scored 672 goals over his previous 17 seasons at Barcelona in Spain's La Liga. He inhereted the No. 10 from fellow Barcelona legend Ronaldinho in 2008.

Barcelona could not retire Messi's number due to La Liga rules, which state that each club's 25 first-team players must wear shirt Nos. 1 through 25.

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Messi wore No. 30 in his debut for PSG on Sunday in Reims, France. He did not attempt a shot in the 2-0 victory.

Fati joined Barcelona's first team in 2019. He became the club's youngest La Liga scorer in history (16) when he scored against Osasuna in his first season.

He also became the youngest scorer in the history of Spain's national team with a goal he scored at 17 in 2020 against Ukraine.

Fati last suited up for Barcelona in November. He is out with a knee injury, but resumed training at the end of August. Fati scored 13 goals in his previous 41 appearances for Barcelona.

Barcelona battles Bayern Munich in the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League at 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 14 at Camp Nou in Barcelona.

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