Gonzalo Higuain Chelsea number: A brief history of the cursed number nine shirt at Stamford Bridge

Many great strikers have tried to tame the curse before Higuain and failed

Jack Watson@jackwatsonsport
Wednesday 23 January 2019 22:07
Chelsea: A look back at 2018

Gonzalo Higuain will wear the number nine shirt at Chelsea following his loan move from Juventus until the end of the season.

He takes over the number from Alvaro Morata, who is close to securing an exit from Stamford Bridge following a difficult second season at Chelsea after arriving for £60m last year.

The number nine shirt at Chelsea has been under a strange curse for over a decade, with Morata seemingly being its latest scalp.

So, who has worn the number nine shirt and why is it cursed?

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was part of the glory years of footballing numbers. No messing about with double digits or anything silly like that. A classic number nine forward if you will.

A handy 70 goals in his time at Chelsea before the Roman Abramovich years means that he evaded any such curse.

Mateja Kezman

The first number nine under Jose Mourinho and possibly the man responsible for this trend. Just seven goals in 41 appearances at Chelsea led him to describing his time at Chelsea as the “best thing in my career” despite the shallow return.

Hernan Crespo

Hernan Crespo did not do too badly with Chelsea’s cursed number. A forward with a reputation in world football for being one of the best finishers did not disappoint at Stamford Bridge.

The Argentine did not settle in west London, with the curse taking its toll on his personal life rather than what he was doing on the pitch.

Khalid Boulahrouz

This is where the curse really picks up. A right-back behind Paulo Ferreira in the pecking order was next to wear the shirt, seemingly in odd circumstances.

After a promising start, Khalid Boulahrouz was hit with a series of injuries that led to his eventual departure.

Steve Sidwell

Is there ever a player less suited to a shirt number? That’s maybe a tad harsh, but Steve Sidwell certainly did not carry the gauntlet of responsibility by wearing the number nine shirt.

Acting as if he was enjoying the fanfare of the curse, Mourinho handed him the shirt, one goal in 25 appearances in all competitions speaks for that.

Not the classic number nine

Franco Di Santo

Zero goals in 16 games. Enough said.

Fernando Torres

The £50m signing from Liverpool was meant to be a seismic moment for Torres and Chelsea.

Carlo Ancelotti did not give any of his players the number nine shirt on Chelsea’s march to the league title but gave the cursed shirt to El Nino, the man seemingly born to sport the famous number.

His time at Chelsea, while laden with trophies, was a phase in his career where he went from one of the most in-form strikers in the world to somebody that could barely score when presented with an open goal.

Things did not work out for El Nino at Chelsea

Radamel Falcao

The less said about his time at Chelsea the better.

Radamel Falcao’s brief loan spell saw him play in just 12 games in the 2015/16 season, scoring once.

Alvaro Morata

When the Spaniard joined from Real Madrid he wore the number nine shirt before switching to 29 following the birth of his twins in August.

A summary of Morata's time at Chelsea

After a bright start at Chelsea his initial scoring touch had worn out and was missing easy chances more often than he was converting them, that’s providing he was getting in the right areas.

Morata has only scored five goals in the Premier League this season and appears to have lost the faith of Maurizio Sarri.

Gonzalo Higuain

No pressure.

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