Can Romelu Lukaku end the ‘curse’ of Chelsea’s No 9 shirt?

Romelu Lukaku has a point to prove following his sensational return to Chelsea, 10 years after he first signed for the Premier League giants. 

The 28-year-old Belgian never established himself as a young player at Stamford Bridge and the club were happy to let him leave for Everton back in 2017. Now he returns ready to show the club and its fans exactly what they missed the first time round, and why he’s now a £98million world-class striker.

But there’s another old – and rather odd – obstacle to overcome too. Having worn the No 18 during his first spell, Lukaku is now set to take the No 9 shirt at Chelsea once Tammy Abraham’s move to Roma is finalised – the young England forward touched down on Italian soil on Sunday morning to complete his £34m transfer and join Jose Mourinho’s revolution.

But, as Abraham found out, that fabled striker’s squad number seems to have something of a hex on it. So many revered centre forwards have flopped while wearing Chelsea’s No 9 in recent years that some fans have even called it ‘cursed’.

At most clubs, being given the No 9 is a source of great pride and responsibility… but at Chelsea, who have kicked off their season with a Super Cup victory over Villarreal and a Premier League win against Crystal Palace, it just seems to be a bit of a burden. 

Having scored 42 goals in 74 Serie A appearances for Inter Milan after arriving from Manchester United in 2019, Lukaku will have no doubt he can complete his unfinished business at Chelsea, and banish any talk of a jinxed shirt. 

There have been 15 different occupants of the ‘cursed’ No 9 since the start of the Premier League era, from the prolific Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to the far less so Steve Sidwell. Here, Sportsmail takes a look back at every one…

Having worn the No 18 shirt during his first spell at Chelsea, Lukaku will now take the No 9

Lukaku returns 10 years after he first signed for the club, having fired Inter Milan to glory


Ray Charles Marfo

Digital Marketing and Brands Expert

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