Romelu Lukaku is new Chelsea no 9: Morata, Falcao and three others who wore the iconic jersey at Stamford Bridge
Belgian Romelu Lukaku is a potent force. Arguably the best striker in the world right now, he made a switch from Italian champions Inter to join the reigning European champions. However, this is his second tenure with Chelsea, where he spent three seasons from 2011, though he was out on loan for two of those years before being sold for 28 million pounds (now $39 million) to Everton.
Now that Tammy Abraham has moved to Serie A with AS Roma, Lukaku will be donning the no 9 shirt for Chelsea. Here are the players from the last decade who wore the iconic jersey at Stamford Bridge. Most of them failed to find their goal-scoring skills for Chelsea and now the onus of breaking the jinx has fallen on Lukaku.
Franco Di Santo (2008-09): Argentine youngster Di Santo received the no 9 shirt from Steve Sidwell but failed to live up to the expectations of the club. Mostly used as a substitute, Di Santo only got 16 outings in all with Chelsea before being sent to Blackburn on loan. The 32-year-old currently represents San Lorenzo in his home country.
Fernando Torres (2011-15): The Spanish World Cup winner scored 81 times from 142 outings for Liverpool before he arrived at Chelsea. To the great disappointment of many fans, ‘El Nino’ could only manage 45 goals from 172 games and was the mere shadow of the player he was at Anfield. Torres famously scored against Barcelona in the semifinals of the Champions League that lead to the Catan side’s elimination and Chelsea’s advancement in to final. He was part of the successful final campaign against Bayern Munich as well, being sent in as a substitute once again in the second half.
Radamel Falcao (2015-16): Radamel Falcao arrived on a year-long loan but never really took off in the blue jersey. The Colombian managed just one goal for Chelsea from 12 matches during an injury-ravaged season. Falcao would have thought to bury ghosts of his stint with Manchester United at Chelsea, but managed only 11 appearances in all for the club before heading back to AS Monaco in France. The veteran striker now plays for Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig.
Alvaro Morata (2017-18): Alvaro Morata used the no 9 shirt at Chelsea before switching to 29. However, numerology was not going to help him rediscover his touch and the Spanish forward soon made a switch to his homeland with Atletico Madrid. Morata arrived at Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid for a club-record transfer fee of £60 million and managed 11 league goals in the 2017-18 season. The next season proved to be a tragedy as he could find the back of the net just five times. On 27 January 2019, Morata joined Atletico on an 18-month loan deal and currently represents Juventus on loan.
Gonzalo Higuain (2019): The Argentine striker had a brief stint at West London under Maurizio Sarri before reaching MLS with Inter Miami. Loaned out by the Old Lady, Chelsea’s last high profile player to wear the number 9 shirt managed only five goals from 14 outings – including a brace against Huddersfield. The rumours surrounding Higuain’s fitness and pace were proven correct as he struggled to adapt to the requirements of the Premier League.
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