KEY POINTS

  • Sergio Aguero chose No. 19 over No. 10 shirt at Barcelona
  • No. 10 shirt was then handed to Ansu Fati
  • Fati recently returned after a 10-month injury layoff

Sergio Aguero, who moved from Manchester City to FC Barcelona this summer, has explained why he refused to wear Lionel Messi's No. 10 and instead opted for No. 19. 

After being associated with Manchester City for a decade, Aguero left the Etihad side to join Barcelona on a free transfer. 

Had Aguero accepted the No. 10 shirt at Barcelona, he could have joined the list of Barcelona legends to have worn the iconic shirt alongside the likes of Messi, Ronaldinho and Diego Maradona. However, the former Atletico Madrid forward chose No. 19, the number he wears for Argentina. 

Barcelona's young star Ansu Fati was given the honor to succeed Messi as the club's next No. 10. 

In a recent press conference, Aguero said 18-year-old Fati "is a much better fit" for the No. 10 shirt. 

"I chose number 19 because it was available, and I wear it with the Argentina national team. The players asked me to take the No.10, but I refused. In fact, the No.10 looks good on Ansu Fati," Aguero explained. 

Spain forward Fati is one of the promising players in Europe right now. He broke into Barcelona's first team in 2019 and is believed to be Messi's successor at the club. While many clubs are reportedly after the teenage sensation, Barcelona are close to tying Fati down in a new deal that would include a massive release clause of $1.15 billion, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, who has a credible record in European soccer. 

"Ansu Fati will sign his new long term with Barcelona contract soon - release clause included for €1B exactly as Pedri's one," Romano noted in a tweet.

Aguero, who won the Copa America with Messi earlier this year, has applauded Fati, saying "we are fortunate that he [Fati] is in Barcelona."

"Ansu is still a young player and it is difficult to stay at a high level all the time. As experienced players, we do our best to help the youngsters. Ansu has a lot of talent and he trains a lot. We are fortunate that he is in Barcelona," Aguero said further.

Thanks for the memories: Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero applauds the crowd Thanks for the memories: Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero applauds the crowd Photo: POOL / Dave Thompson

Fati's excellent start during the previous season was cut short due to an injury. He made only 10 competitive appearances for Barcelona in 2020-21, where he was involved in 9 goals, scoring five and assisting four. 

When Fati returned to action recently, after a 10-month injury layoff, the young forward announced his arrival with a goal in Barcelona's 3-0 win over Levante in La Liga.