We’ve lost count, but Chinese leader Xi Jinping probably owns more than a dozen football jerseys, and all of them carry the number 10.
They’re gifts from foreign counterparts, officials, dignitaries and sports celebrities.
On Monday, the President received another one from the Boca Junior Club during his visit to the football-crazy nation of Argentina, People’s Daily reports.
Several days ago, Argentina’s Vice President Amado Boudou gave him the national soccer jersey with his name emblazed on it, and, you guessed it right, it also carries the number 10.
There’s no mystery in the number. It’s just the jersey worn by the game’s all-time greats, including Pele and Diego Maradona. Lionel Messi, the skipper of Argentina’s national team who won the FIFA Golden Ball as the best player of World Cup 2014, also proudly wears the number.
As such, the number carries a sense of prestige, an air of respect.
Rising stars of the beautiful game strive hard to one day have the number on their jerseys, and fans, especially kids, show their admiration by wearing them.
By presenting the jersey to the Chinese president, the giver is saying that he is a true leader, the best in his field.
Xi always smiles when he receives the jersey. It’s not only that he’s being polite. He actually loves football, and he knows the message behind the number.
Through the years, he must have collected a big pile of those jerseys somewhere in his wardrobe. The only mystery is whether he bothers to wear them.
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