Leao handed No.10 shirt at AC Milan for 2023/24: Who else has worn the iconic number for the Rossoneri?

Having signed a new long-term deal to stay at AC Milan, Rafael Leao has been handed the iconic No.10 shirt at the San Siro, joining a long list of superstar names to have worn it for the Rossoneri.

Rafael Leao celebrates a goal. (@acmilan)

AC Milan star Rafael Leao will wear the No.10 on the back of his Rossoneri shirt for the 2023/24 season after Brahim Diaz returned to Real Madrid. The Spain international had worn the iconic number on his back for the previous two seasons, and he has rejoined his parent club after the Rossoneri decided not to purchase him outright from Los Blancos.

AC Milan posted on their social media accounts, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, that Leao will wear the No.10 jersey for the upcoming season, and instead of having R. Leao, his name will be written as Rafa Leao on the back.

Rafael Leao celebrates opening the scoring for AC Milan against Napoli. [@acmilan]

Rafa Leao takes No.10: Recognition of his mercurial talents

Historically, players who wore the No.10 on the back of their jersey were either attacking midfielders or support strikers. This player would often have the greatest technical skills and possess the ability to create something out of nothing.

Leao is predominantly a left winger, but he has developed into a talisman for AC Milan, and he provides the Rossoneri with a much-needed X-factor. The 24-year-old won the Serie A MVP award in 2021/22 after playing an inspirational role as the Italian giants went on to the scudetto, and he also registered his highest tally of goals in 2022/23, scoring 16 goals in all competitions.

AC Milan No.10s: Baggio, Rui Costa, Seedorf and Leao

Until the 1995/96 Serie A season, players did not wear their names on the back of the jersey and they were not allocated specific numbers for a whole season. Since then, a number of great players have worn the No.10 on the back of their football shirt.

Italian legend Roberto Baggio was the first to have his name above the No.10 on it before Croatian hero Zvonimir Boban had it. Portuguese great and Leao’s compatriot Rui Costa also donned the mystical number on his Rossoneri jersey, then former Dutch star Clarence Seedorf had it for many years.

Recently, the No.10 jersey has been worn at AC Milan by Kevin-Prince Boateng, Keisuke Honda, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Brahim before the Rossoneri handed it to Leao.