This article was written by @footballreview4. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
The position of the number 10 has been flirted with over the years in football. It seems that over time the position has evolved. The phrase "number 10" has, more recently, become synonymous with 5ft 7 creative types who play between the lines and make the game look pretty. This hasn't always been the case though.
In today's game, I believe there are four types of 10s. They will be outlined below with examples of players that fit the mold.
9 and a half or Second Striker
These are the most potent of the breed. Yes, I am aware I said breed. Just humour me. These variants are more accomplished in front of goal. They do all of their best work in and around the box. A modern example of this type would be Dele Alli. Alli is a good technical footballer, not the best dribbler, but possesses an almost telepathic understanding with Kane. Alli's 17 league goals have come as a result of playing so far forward, allowing him to get on the end of crosses into the box. Other modern incarnation include Mata, Aguero, Van Persie and Rooney
Creative number 10
These are the most common incarnation that we see today. These are, what I like to call, 'chances created' merchants. A lot of them do very little except get between the lines and play the occasional through ball. Yes, I'm talking to you Ozil! I don't like the argument that their job is just to create chances and get assists. If you're that high up the pitch, score some goals. It's not difficult. Contribute more than a rabona pass. The most productive example I can give is Kevin De Bruyne. De Bruyne plays some of the most unbelievable passes, gets between the lines and scores goals. If he hadn't hit the ball 1000 times today, his goal return would be a lot higher. He does have 15 league assists though, so I'll let him off.
Now onto, in my opinion, the most entertaining to watch. These have the passing and creativity of the creative breed as well as the pace and flair of a winger. The best example of this is Eden Hazard. Hazard has be Chelsea's most potent attacking threat in both title campaigns. His dribbling ability is only bettered by Messi, in my opinion. He creates chances and he scores goals, although he should be scoring more. These tend to be the most flexible attackers, able to play in various positions. This type of player is very valuable, especially if they are of the highest level. Other examples of these include Willian, Isco and Mkhitaryan.
These are different. These players have that little something that make them special. Hazard might one day join this class of player, but not yet. He hasn't done enough. These are those players that can do it all. They regularly do things that makes you say, wow. There are only two players that I've watched in my lifetime that I can comfortably put in this class. Those players are, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi. Before you say, they're both wingers. No they're not. They played on the wing because Barcelona played 433. These two have played some of the most broken passes I've ever seen, as well as score the most incredible goals. They are the pinnacle of natural ability. They are the amalgamation of other of the above and more. They are greats of the game.
I'm sure this position will continue to evolve as players get stronger, faster and more athletic. It will be interesting to see how much longer this coveted position lasts.
Follow @footballreview4 on social media: