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The Canarinha’s Number 10 Shirt at the 2024 Copa América Belongs to Rodrygo

Copa América 2024 rodrygo camisa 10 2024 Copa América

As the 2024 Copa América approaches, Rodrygo is consistently proving, match after match, that he deserves the legendary number 10 shirt for the Brazilian national team.

Neymar might make a comeback soon. Do you think he can reclaim the number, or has Rodrygo already made it his own?

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Why Should Rodrygo Wear the Number 10 for Brazil at the 2024 Copa América?

Rodrygo’s versatility as a footballer has been evident for a long time. Whether playing for Santos, Real Madrid, or the Brazilian national team, he has always shown his adaptability.

From the beginning of his career, at just 16 years old, he was tested in various positions at Santos, playing as a right winger, left winger, and even as a false nine.

While he occasionally made some poor decisions on the pitch, this gradually changed after his move to Madrid.

Under Carlo Ancelotti’s guidance, he became even more versatile, understanding and excelling in almost all attacking positions.

During the 2021/22 season, when Rodrygo scored crucial goals to help Real Madrid win the Champions League, he often replaced Valverde, playing wide on the right.

However, his goals against Chelsea and Manchester City showed his ability to be a surprise element in the box, scoring like a traditional centre-forward.

This demonstrates his incredible ability to understand and exploit spaces, regardless of the position he is playing in.

In the last season (2023/24), with another Champions League and La Liga added to his resume, he mostly played alongside Vinicius Jr in attack.

With Benzema leaving and Bellingham coming in, the Englishman played as an advanced attacking midfielder, while the Brazilians led the line.

On paper, it looked like a traditional strike partnership, but in reality, it was different.

Vinicius Jr stayed more on the left wing, while Rodrygo moved freely across the attacking line, even seeking out Vinicius to combine with him.

A similar situation has occurred in the Brazilian national team. When Neymar was on the pitch wearing the number 10, Rodrygo was pushed to the right wing.

At other times, Raphinha took the right wing spot, and Rodrygo played as a false nine.

With Neymar out due to injury, the Real Madrid number 11 took on the legendary number 10 shirt.

Whether debatable or not, Rodrygo was the best player for Brazil in most games, playing in various positions.

He seems to understand the responsibility of wearing the number 10 and never shies away, always seeking the ball to make decisive plays.

This was evident in the last match before the 2024 Copa América against the United States. Brazil only managed a 1-1 draw in a game where the Brazilian defence performed poorly.

However, the attack created many opportunities, most of them through Rodrygo.

Rodrygo alcança 50 gols pelo Real Madrid: "Estou aqui para fazer história" | futebol espanhol | ge

Image: Getty Images

The Scarcity of Number 10s

Currently, the number 10 position, especially in Brazilian football, seems to be in short supply.

In the past, it was a position filled with immense quality, but today that is no longer the case.

With the evolution of the game, players who operate at a slower pace, typical of this position, have become less prominent.

Moreover, Neymar, who is technically unrivalled, has taken on this role due to his physical decline, which prevents him from playing as a left winger, the position where he found so much success at Santos and Barcelona.

Another player who could compete for this role and has had good performances for Brazil is Lucas Paquetá. Despite being part of the squad for the 2024 Copa América, he is dealing with allegations related to betting schemes.

Furthermore, Paquetá’s characteristics are more suited to a central midfield role, providing quality in Brazil’s build-up play.

However, if Neymar had continued his expected career trajectory, the number 10 shirt would be his for several more years.

Neymar falou sobre defender o Al-Hilal no Mundial de Clubes de 2025

Image: Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

We see Messi, at 36, still representing the number 10 shirt with class.

Neymar, four years younger, continues to struggle with injuries and, even if he returns, performing at a high level in today’s fast-paced game will be very difficult.

As if that weren’t enough, he will have to surpass Rodrygo, who is making a strong case for himself.

And for you, who should wear Brazil’s number 10 at the 2024 Copa América?

Rodrygo manda mensagem a Neymar após usar a 10: "Essa camisa é sua" | O Popular

Image: Rafael Ribeiro CBF

Written by Vitor F L Miller.

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