Footballers number 9: 10 best number 9’s in football history

Footballers number 9: 10 best number 9’s in football history

Steve Njuguna
April 1, 2023 at 1:00 PM

The number 9 role is arguably the most prestigious on the football pitch. Great goalscorers quickly become fan favourites. Let us look into some of the greatest names ever to play the position as the best number 9's in football history.

Today we talk about the best footballers who wear number 9
Lewandowski is one of the best no. 9's in modern football. Photo by Alvaro Medranda/NurPhoto
Source: Getty Images

It is very easy for strikers to be valuable assets to a team, especially if they are good at their jobs. In most teams, the strikers are the highest-paid players.

Who wears number 9 in soccer?

Most players in the no 9 position are tasked with being the focal point in attack. Most of the great players on this list not only scored many goals but did it with style and panache.

10. Alan Shearer

Former England striker Alan Shearer is the best number 9 in the history of the English Premier League with 260 goals. He also had 30 goals for the English national team.

Shearer is among the best no 9s in premier league history.
Shearer played for England at four major tournaments. Photo by Mark Leech/Offside
Source: Getty Images

9. Zlatan Ibrahimović

The mercurial Swede has performed consistently since debuting in 1999 at Malmo. He has played for several of Europe's elite teams, including Ajax, AC Milan, Barcelona, Inter Milan, PSG and Manchester United. He broke the Serie A record for the oldest goalscorer in the competition when he scored against Udinese in March 2023, aged 41 years old.

Ibrahimovic is one of the best footballers with number 9 on their backs.
Zlatan is one of the best footballers to wear number 9. Photo by Alessandro Sabattini
Source: Getty Images

8. Luis Suárez

Nicknamed ' El Pistolero' (The pistol), Suárez has been phenomenal at the club and international levels. He won the 2011 Copa America with Uruguay. He has also starred for Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. At Barcelona, he was part of their successful 2015/16 'MSN' trio alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Suarez is one of the most famous football players to wear no. 9
Suárez was known for his aggressive style and controversial behaviour. Photo by TF-Images
Source: Getty Images

7. Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski has been a household name in global football within the past ten years. The Poland captain has been prolific for Borussia Dortmund, Bayern and now at La Liga side Barcelona. He won the Bundesliga top goalscorer award in seven separate seasons. He also won the Best FIFA men's player awards in 2020 and 2021.

6. Gabriel Batistuta

Nicknamed ' Bati-gol', Batistuta was Argentina's immediate heir to the great Diego Maradona. After starting in Argentina, he made his mark in Italy with Fiorentina, Roma and Inter Milan. Internationally, he won the 1991 and 1993 Copa America titles for Argentina.

5. Thierry Henry

French striker Thierry Henry is considered the best player in the history of Arsenal Football Club. He is the club's record all-time goalscorer with 228 goals. He also played for Monaco, Juventus, Barcelona and New York Red Bulls. With the French national team, he won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Henry is one of the best footballers to wear number 9
Henry is among the most famous footballers that wore number 9. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC
Source: Getty Images

4. Marco van Basten

Marco van Basten was the centrepiece of the Dutch's golden generation of the 80s. He started with Dutch giants Ajax winning three titles in 6 years and the European cup in 1987. Van Basten then moved to AC Milan, where he won 3 more league titles and another two European cups. For the Netherlands, he won the European Championships in 1988. Van Basten was named the Ballon D' or winner three times and the FIFA World Player of the year in 1992. He retired aged 28 in 1994 due to a knee injury.

Van Basten was one of the best footballers who play no.9
Van Basten's career was cut short by injury. Photo by Eric Renard / Onze / Icon Sport
Source: Getty Images

3. Gerd Müller

Gerd Müller is arguably the best number 9 of the 20th century. Müller dominated the 70's, winning the 1972 European championships and the 1974 FIFA World Cup. With Germany, he won 3 European championships and 4 Bundesliga titles.

Who wears number 9 in soccer?
Müller's Bundesliga goalscoring record stuck for close to 60 years. Photo by Istvan Bajzat/picture alliance
Source: Getty Images

2. Alfredo Stéfano

Alfredo Stéfano was born in Argentina in 1926. He played in Colombia and Argentina, winning multiple accolades before landing in Spain in 1953 to play for Real Madrid. He won the European Cup 5 times with the club as long as numerous domestic accolades. He scored 410 goals for the club, a total only surpassed by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Di Stefano is one of the top number 9 footballers in history.
Di Stefano passed away in 2014. Photo by STAFF/AFP
Source: Getty Images

1. Ronaldo Nazário

Fondly referred to by his fans as ' R9', Ronaldo Nazário De Lima is widely considered the most significant number 9 in history. The Brazilian won multiple accolades with PSV, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan. His most significant impact on football was at the World Cup, where he won the 1994 and 2002 editions.

Ronaldo is the best no 9 in World Cup history.
Ronaldo scored twice in the 2002 World Cup final to sink Germany. Photo Courtesy: Getty
Source: Getty Images

These strikers redefined the forward position in football with their consistency and greatness. The reason they rank high above the others is the fact that their actions and achievements define the template of how a footballer should play number 9.

READ MORE: A ranked list of the 10 famous number 11 football players

SportsBrief recently ranked the top 10 famous number 11 football players. The number 11 position is one of the most technical areas of the pitch, with the players being required to be technical and skilful. Mohamed Salah is an example of a player who plays number 11 on the pitch. Check the list above to see the best in that position globally.

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Steve Njuguna
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