Milan-Filippo Inzaghi is the last player to wear the iconic Rossoneri number 9 shirt with a good record and performance. Inzaghi joined Milan in 2001 before retiring with them in 2012. They were his last senior team. His goals helped them to many titles including two UEFA Champions League crowns. Since he retired, however, every player who had succeeded him in wearing the number 9 shirt have all failed miserably.
While it cannot be argued that Milan have been making marquee signings over the years, there are some big and renowned names in football who have gone on to wear their number 9 shirt. They failed to perform too. The shirt is currently vacant and whoever will be wearing it next has some ‘ill-luck’ to pray away. Let us see how the previous No. 9s faired since Inzaghi dropped the shirt in chronological order.
#1. Alexandre Pato
51 goals in 117 league appearances for the is a fair return for the Brazilian who joined Milan in 2007. Pato did not start out his career wearing the number 9 shirt as Inzaghi was still with on the team. He was given the shirt immediately Inzaghi retired and that was the beginning of the end of a glittering career. Pato unceremoniously left the Rossoneri after wearing the iconic jersey for just half a season. He has not been efficient in front of goal anywhere he’s played since then.
#2. Alessandro Matri
Matri began his career at the Giuseppe Meazza as far back as 2003 but found himself with Juventus after three loan spells and a permanent move to Cagliari. He found some form at Turin and being a source of goals for Juventus. This convinced Milan to buy him back in 2013 and they gave him the number 9 shirt. Halfway into the 2013/2014 season, he was loaned to Fiorentina and that was the end. He scored just one league goal.
#3. Mattia Destro
Destro unlike some players on the list was signed on loan from Roma in 2015. The Italian had scored 24 league goals in 57 appearances for the capital club between 2012 and 2015. Destro was given the number 9 shirt but strangely he also spent just half a season wearing it like Pato and Matri before him. He managed just 3 league goals in the shirt. He is currently on loan with Genoa from Bologna.
#4. Fernando Torres
Torres had begun to decline at Liverpool before he moved to Chelsea. It just wasn’t obvious. Chelsea splashed the cash to sign him but his form for them was nothing to write home about. He was soon loaned to A.C. Milan in 2014 for two years and with the number 9 shirt, he only managed 1 goal in 10 Serie A appearances. He was offloaded to Atletico Madrid after half a season in the number 9 shirt. Could this be a coincidence?
#5. Luiz Adriano
If anyone was expected to dispel the dark cloud over the number 9 shirt, it was Luiz Adriano. The hitman from Brazil was a regular goalscorer for Shakhtar Donetsk both in the league and Europe. He was signed in 2015 with a record of 77 league goals in 162 games and obviously was given the iconic jersey. He managed just four goals in 26 games before the jersey was taken from him. Milan sold him to Spartak Moscow in 2017.
#6. Gianluca Lapadula
Lapadula is not a household name but this guy did wear the number 9 jersey too. No one would blame the club for signing a man who scored 27 league goals in 40 games for Pescara in just one season. Great things were expected of him when he was signed in 2016 but after 8 goals and 27 appearances in a season, he was loaned out to Genoa in 2017. They would later make the deal permanent in 2018.
#7. Andre Silva
The Rossoneri splashed the cash to sign from Porto on a 5-year deal in 2017. The Portuguese could not hit the ground running in the iconic jersey and is currently on his second loan spell after spending the 2018/2019 season on loan with Sevilla. He currently plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. An advantage on his side is that he is only 24-years old and might still get a chance to prove himself in Italy.
#8. Gonzalo Higuain
Another big name flop that wore Milan’s number 9 jersey. He moved to the Giuseppe Meazza ahead of the 2018/2019 but only left after half a season. He managed 6 league goals in 15 appearances before completing the other half of 2018/2019 with Chelsea.
#9. Krzysztof Piatek
Piatek is the last number 9 that flattered to deceive in Milan. He was signed from Genoa after scoring 13 Serie A goals in 19 games. That was his first full season in Italy. The media expected the Pole to take over at Milan by producing the goods week after week. It was not to be as he was sold to Hertha Berlin after half a season in the iconic jersey.
CONCLUSION ON THE NUMBER 9 CURSE
The jersey is currently vacant with no one wearing it in the current Milan squad. A new signing is bound to pick it up. The question is- will he succeed or flop too?