Chelsea players scared to wear No. 9 because of striker curse


Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed that none of his players want to wear the number nine because they think it’s “cursed”.

The number 9 is usually the most coveted shirt of any club, as it is reserved for the team’s top strikers. It guarantees that you will be on top when you have time.

At Stamford Bridge, all that has been guaranteed for the past 18 years is poor form and a lot of scrutiny. Romelu Lukaku is the latest victim, now back at Inter on loan after a disastrous £97.5m transfer.

When asked why none of his players had touched the number 9 before Saturday’s game with Everton, Tuchel gave a very honest answer.

Tuchel and Lukaku last season.  (Image credit: Alamy)
Tuchel and Lukaku last season. (Image credit: Alamy)

“It’s cursed, it’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed,” Tuchel admits.

“We didn’t open it up for tactical reasons, because some players who were in the pipeline took it naturally.

“There’s not a lot of demand for the number nine when players sometimes want to change numbers.

“Surprisingly, no one wanted to touch it.”

Chelsea have added Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Mark Cucurella to their squad this summer, all three of whom have already chosen their shirt numbers.

Academy graduates Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja, who were loaned out last season, are expected to play for the Blues this season, and they have also opted for numbers.

Raheem Sterling will wear size 17.  (Image credit: Alamy)
Raheem Sterling will wear size 17. (Image credit: Alamy)

Tuchel continued: “Everyone who’s been around longer than me has told me, ‘Ah, you know, he’s got nines and he doesn’t score, he’s got nines and he doesn’t score’.

“So we have a moment now where no one wants to touch the number nine.

“I’m also superstitious, and I can understand why players might not touch it, and other preferences.”

The names who have worn nine for Chelsea include Mattia Ketzmann, Hernán Crespo, Fernando Torres, Falcao, Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain,

While No. 9 is worthless, No. 26 is perhaps Chelsea’s most valuable number.

John Terry, who wore this shirt during his 19 years with the Blues, will go down as one of the greatest players of all time.



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