Roma snapped up Argentina international Dybala on a three-year contract on Wednesday after his deal with Juventus expired.
Dybala was grateful to be offered the chance to wear the shirt but felt it should remain Totti’s. However, he did not rule out donning it in the future.
Why did Dybala choose No.21 instead of 10?
Dybala wanted to stick to 21, a number he is attached to, as he knows the responsibility and pressure that comes with the No. 10 jersey at Roma.
No. 10 has been so iconic in the history of Roma, which was worn by legend Francesco Totti. The trouble, for now, is that it has been that way since Francesco Totti retired in 2017 and was only ever worn by Giuseppe Giannini and Daniel Fonseca on an official basis before the introduction of permanent squad numbers in Serie A. Stories of Totti’s greatness and legacy will only become more romanticized in time. In turn, the amount of expectations on the next number 10 would only increase, in a manner that may become obstructive.
Dybala explained the reason he refused to wear the number 10 jersey was his great respect for Totti.
“The director had suggested that I take 10, which is very important here for what Totti has done. That shirt must still be his. I thanked them because for such a shirt there must be respect and responsibility,” Dybala stated in an interview.
“Maybe one day I’ll wear it, but today I’m happy with 21. It’s a number I’m tied to and with which I started to win.”
Paulo Dybala’s first goal in the Roma No. 21 jersey
Dybala scored his first goal in the Roma No. 21 jersey on July 21 during a game between ranks under the watchful eye of Jose Mourinho.
Roma owners Dan Friedkin and Ryan Friedkin were also present, watching on from the sidelines during their talk with director of sport Tiago Pinto.