Real Madrid’s No.9 shirt has a proud history, having been worn by some of the club’s greatest-ever goalscorers.
The likes of Alfredo Di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez made the shirt across the globe, making the white of Los Blancos one of the most desired in world football.
But, despite some modern-day legends wearing the coveted jersey in recent years, there have also been a couple of flops that you’d be forgiven for forgetting.
Eight players have worn the shirt since 1992 and we’ve ranked them from worst to best.
8. Roberto Soldado
Soldado came through the ranks at Madrid and was rewarded with their No.9 shirt in 2007 following a successful loan spell at Osasuna.
While Los Blancos won La Liga in 2007-08, the striker failed to score in his five league appearances and was sold to Getafe for €4million. Soldado later became the unwitting symbol of Tottenham’s misguided splurging of their Gareth Bale windfall.
He remains, despite some stiff competition from Alvaro Morata, probably the most tragic footballer we’ve ever seen.
Much being made of Paulinho’s unveiling. Think Soldado kicking the ball into the crowd and missing takes some beating. pic.twitter.com/Xl5bCKwpOd
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 18, 2017
7. Javier Saviola
After wearing the No.18 shirt for his first year at Madrid, Saviola switched to the No.9 shirt ahead of the 2008-09 campaign.
He was unable to establish himself as a first-team regular, scoring two goals in 12 appearances before joining Benfica at the end of the season.
Still, he’ll always be a Championship Manager legend.
6. Davor Suker
Brought in from Sevilla in 1996, Suker formed part of a deadly attacking trio alongside Raul and Predrag Mijatovic at the Bernabeu.
The striker scored 49 goals in 109 appearances during his three years at the club, winning a La Liga title and the Champions League in the process.
Winner of the Golden Boot at France ’98, Suker was one of the most iconic strikers of his generation. His position here is an indication of the amazing forwards Real Madrid have had over the past three decades.
READ: The story of Capello, Suker, Mijatovic & the Real Madrid team of 96-97
5. Fernando Morientes
Morienters first wore the No.9 shirt at Madrid during the 1999-00 season and scored 19 goals in all competitions, including the opener in the Champions League final win over Valencia.
The Spain international picked up two La Liga titles and another Champions League over the next three years before falling behind Ronaldo in the pecking order.
He came back to haunt Madrid while on loan at Monaco in 2003-04 and joined Liverpool on a permanent deal in 2005.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo
While Ronaldo is mainly associated with the No.7 shirt, his preferred number was worn by club captain and legendary figure Raul in 2009-10.
The Portugal international instead wore the No.9 shirt in his inaugural season at the Bernabeu, scoring 33 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions.
Once Raul joined Schalke in the summer of 2010, Ronaldo switched to the No.7 shirt and the rest, as they say, is history.
While we’re on the subject of Ronaldo…
O Fenomeno enjoyed an incredible debut season in Madrid, in which he annoyingly wore the No.11, and finally received the No.9 shirt following Morientes’ departure in 2003.
He scored 74 goals in 133 appearances in all competitions over the next four years before injuries and weight issues finished his time at the club.
While Ronaldo’s peak may have come before his 2002 move to the Bernabeu, he is still highly regarded by the Real supporters.
READ: A forensic analysis of Ronaldo’s hat-trick vs Manchester United in 2003
2. Ivan Zamorano
A man so committed to the No.9 he wore 1+8 at Inter Milan, Zamorano joined Madrid in 1992 and had the unenviable task of replacing Hugo Sanchez at the Bernabeu.
“Zamorano is one of the players that the new coach, Benito Floro, has asked us to do,” Madrid president Ramon Mendoza said in 1992.
“With Zamorano, I hope that Madrid will once again have an extraordinary nine that will make us forget the Mexican Hugo Sanchez. Life goes on and we must renew the team and, therefore, make signings.”
The Chile international didn’t disappoint, scoring 101 goals in 173 appearances and helping them win a first La Liga title in five years in 1994-95, when he also finished as the league’s top goalscorer.
Given Ronaldo wore the No.11 in his first, and arguably his best, season at the Bernabeu, Zamorano edges him out. We’re never ones to pass up the opportunity to be clever tw*ts.
Ivan Zamorano scores a hat-trick for Real Madrid against Barcelona, 1995. pic.twitter.com/92aralMxsb
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) December 31, 2021
1. Karim Benzema
Benzema only got the No.9 shirt after Cristiano Ronaldo vacated it in 2010 and was often overshadowed by his Madrid team-mate.
The France international has still been an integral player for Los Blancos, scoring 329 goals in 616 appearances over the last decade and a half.
His four La Liga titles, five Champions Leagues and two Copa del Rey crowns also make him Madrid’s most successful No.9 since Alfredo Di Stefano. A worthy Ballon d’Or winner to boot.
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