The no.9 shirt is one of the most famous shirt numbers in football history. Even at Chelsea, despite recent history, it’s associated with some of the best goalscorers to ever grace the squad, including Peter Osgood and Kerry Dixon. However, since the institution of squad numbers in 1993 — before then, numbers were assigned per position not per player — it’s had a slightly less illustrious history, and that’s despite Gianluca Vialli and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink each wearing it for at least three seasons, and Hernan Crespo taking a decent turn in it as well.
And it’s not just Fernando Torres who’s taken the luster off of the famous digit, though he’s certainly the one most closely associated with the Curse of the No.9 Shirt. Torres’s successor, Falcao certainly didn’t come anywhere close to breaking it, nor did his predecessor, Franco Di Santo, or Mateja Kezman or Chris Sutton before him, who could probably be credited with starting this unfortunate trend in the first place. Giving the shirt to a non-center forward certainly didn’t work either, with Steve Sidwell and Khalid Boulahrouz producing appropriately bewildering performances in their short time at the club.
And so now, it’s Álvaro Morata’s turn. Can he break the Curse? Let us all hope very sincerely that he can.
Morata had worn the no.9 at Juventus, the no.21 at Real Madrid, and the no.7 for the Spanish national team over the past several years, and it looks like he’s gone with the toughest possible challenge.
Good luck to us all.