ARHUS, DENMARK - JUNE 25: Juan Mata of Spain during the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Final match between Spain and Switzerland at the Arhus Stadium on June 25, 2011 in Arhus, Denmark. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Chelsea FC new signing Juan Mata needed a squad number, and now he's got one thanks to the generosity of Israeli teammate of Yossi Benayoun. Well, Mata would have had a number anyway, so I guess that's not strictly true. But anyway, Benayoun's given Mata his favourite #10, claiming that he didn't much care about the number since his favourite is #15 and that Florent Malouda is a total meanie.
(As an aside, if I were a professional footballer and someone wanted my squad number, I don't think I'd be able to resist making a 'Sure, you can have my number, but just so we're clear: I'm married and I prefer women anyway' joke every single time. Until my teammates murdered me. This is why it's for the best that I am not.)
Mata, who wore the number ten jersey with former club Valencia, was touched by the gesture, saying the shirt has special significance for him. The article on Chelsea's official site also contains the following amazing sentence, which I am submitting without further comment:
As well as Benayoun, Mata follows on from legends Joe Cole, Mark Hughes, Ian Hutchinson and Terry Venables in adopting the number 10 jersey.
So what about Benayoun, who apparently has been telling people in private that he's expecting a move, perhaps to Tottenham Hotspur? 13, 14, and 16 were all open (although Romelu Lukaku has been steered away from #14, which is probably being held open for Luka Modric should the Croatian midfielder end up at Stamford Bridge), so naturally he's been assigned squad number #30. Since it's not #15, he presumably doesn't mind too much - and as best as I can tell there's no hint of a move for the Israeli right now.