No player at Chelsea is currently wearing the jersey with the number 9. Manager Thomas Tuchel has now revealed why this is so: The pros apparently think the shirt number is “damn”.
Last season, star striker Romelu Lukaku had number 9 on his back. However, the Belgian could not convince and returned to Inter Milan after just one season.
When asked why nobody claimed the number for themselves, Tuchel replied on Friday: “She’s cursed! People tell me she’s cursed. We didn’t leave the number open for tactical reasons or for potential newcomers in the pipeline . There just wasn’t a lot of demand for the number 9. Sometimes players want to change their shirt number, but surprisingly no one wants to touch it.”
In recent years, other Blues players have also had little success with the number 9: Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata, Radamael Falcao and Fernando Torres have all been unable to live up to the high level of experience aimed at them. Although Tammy Abraham scored 18 goals in the 2019/20 season, he struggled with injuries and lack of form the following year and now plays for AS Roma.
The number 9 at Stamford Bridge was also vacant in 2014/15 and 2016/17.
“Everyone who has been with the club longer than me tells me: He had 9 and didn’t score any goals, and he had 9 and didn’t score any goals either,” said Tuchel. “Now no one wants anything to do with her.” He could not promise an end to the “curse” over the shirt number, emphasized Tuchel: “I’m also superstitious. I understand why the players prefer other numbers.”