Ever since Luis Figo’s Real Madrid departure, things haven’t gone quite well for the man wearing the No. 10 jersey at the club.
The Portuguese icon was the man Florentino Perez promised to sign if he won the presidential elections in 2000 and he duly delivered, enjoying five successful years before leaving in 2005 to join Inter.
It seems that when Figo left the club that day, he cast a curse upon the shirt number that he left behind, as evidenced by the departure of James Rodriguez.
He wore it for three seasons but like the others who possess undoubted quality and who have donned the No. 10 in the past 12 years, failed to fully succeed in the Spanish capital.
The curse began with Robinho. The forward arrived with the reputation of being Pele’s heir and despite a promising debut, things worsened with each passing season and he left through the back door, joining Manchester City in a 42 million euros deal.
Despite winning a LaLiga title at the club, the man who seemed destined to be a major part of a successful era at the Bernabeu didn’t have the desired impact.
It was the same case with another great talent when Mesut Ozil assumed control of the No. 10 jersey, a player who astonished with his passing and dribbling quality and vision.
He contributed some incredible assists and is still remembered reasonably fondly by Real supporters but his move to Arsenal perhaps hinted that he was not among the true continental elite.
Another who started well and failed to live up to the hype consistently was Wesley Sneijder. The Dutchman enjoyed an exceptional debut season by contributing goals, assists and laying waste to defences, appearing to be a complete midfielder.
But in his second season, he looked like an entirely different player, losing weight and struggling with injury. It resulted in him leaving for Inter, where he got back to his best under Jose Mourinho.