Diego Valdés and Fabián Estay not only share nationality, they both understand the leadership that weighs on number 10, both in Club América and in Mexican soccer and in the Chilean National Team.
Both have worn the Eagles jersey with a time of 23 years apart, but the communication is in the present tense, they write to each other on whatsapp and social networks: “Diego is a humble and hard-working guy, he knows what shirt he wears, he is happy. Every time I can I congratulate him, we are not great friends but there is respect for what I did and vice versa, I praise and criticize him, there is mutual admiration”, tells El Economista, the former captain of América for two seasons (2000-01 and 2001-02) and current sports analyst.
The mystique, respect and responsibility of wearing the number 10 has several meanings from the perspective of soccer agents, data specialists and former players who have experienced it: “Is number 10 symbolic or monetary today? It’s a special number, it’s how you want to see it, Diego Valdés uses it and they come in handy. The player who wears the 10 must make a difference, not being the figure but with football performances different from that of his teammates”, Estay emphasizes.
Valdés is at the highest monetary point of his career in Mexican soccer, which began in Monarcas Morelia in August 2016. Clausura 2022 means his first season with América, where the market value is listed at 6.6 million dollars , according to Transfermarkt, while the Chilean newspaper La Tercera estimated that the signing was around 12 million dollars.
From the year 2000 to date, Club América has entrusted the number 10 number to eleven players, including Valdés. Due to their own circumstances, not all of them have been brilliant and unbalanced on the field, in some their career, results, prestige or media impact have proportionally weighed. It is more than two decades that the number has been seen in players such as the Paraguayans Cecilio Domínguez, Osvaldo Martínez and Salvador Cabañas, the Argentine Eduardo Bacas, the Chilean Fabián Estay or the Mexican Cuauhtémoc Blanco.
”The 10 is awarded based on team context, rather than stats. There are those who earn it with their sports performance and others simply ask for it. And maybe they don’t end up complying. The 10 is a player with a very good foot, a lot of mental ability of the game, a different way of reading it and carrying out his actions, he has a goal, leadership and he has to be someone who is an example on the field, who transmits, has performance and be able to change the fate of the match with one action. There are those who have earned the 10 with their personality, performance and so it was with Salvador Cabañas and Cuauhtémoc Blanco. It implies hierarchy”, explains Luis Fernández, CEO of Under Data, a data scouting consultancy specializing in soccer.