Football’s greatest Number 9s of all time

Football's greatest Number 9s of all time
greatest Number 9s of all time

1.Ronaldo | Brazil

Known as ‘The Phenomenon’ in Brazil, Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the best Number 9s ever to grace a football pitch. Tall, strong and possessing lightning pace, Ronaldo dazzled defenders while playing for the likes of Barcelona, Inter and Real Madrid. The Brazilian sensation’s arrival in the 1990s marked a noticeable evolution in the role of the Number 9, bringing more dynamism and panache. He scored over 400 goals in his career, including 62 for his country.

2. Luis Suarez | Uruguay

Two-time European Golden Shoe winner Luis Suarez is arguably the most complete modern-day striker, having shown remarkable adaptability throughout his career at Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona. Tenacious and driven, Suarez is third on the list of Barcelona’s all-time top goalscorers and is Uruguay’s record scorer.

3.Gerd Muller | Germany

‘Der Bomber’ Gerd Muller is widely regarded as one of the most clinical strikers of all time and his tally for West Germany – 68 goals in 62 games – exemplifies that fact. Muller was the focal point of the German attack and that of Bayern Munich, using his impressive core strength and elusive agility to bamboozle defenders.

4.Hernan Crespo | Argentina

An iconic figure at Parma and Lazio, Hernan Crespo was among a clutch of star Number 9s during the late 1990s into the 2000s. Strong, skilful and extremely quick, Crespo had a penchant for scoring spectacular goals. Similar in many ways to his compatriot Gabriel Batistuta, Crespo is one of Argentina’s greatest goalscorers.

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5. Robert Lewandowski | Poland

Poland’s greatest goalscorer of all time, Robert Lewandowski emerged as one of the best strikers in the world while playing for Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund and his subsequent exploits at Bayern Munich cemented that reputation. The spearhead of the attack, Lewandowski’s pace, power and technique are crucial tools in his style of play.

6.Romario | Brazil

Romario is one of the greatest goalscorers of all time and he was able to thrive as a centre-forward despite his relatively short stature thanks to his pace, movement and finishing ability. The former Barcelona and Vasco da Gama star scored 55 goals in 70 caps for Brazil.

7.George Weah | Liberia

Like Ronaldo, George Weah was among a crop of strikers who revolutionised the Number 9 role in the 1990s, bringing greater emphasis on skill and speed. Weah won the Ballon d’Or in 1995 and is regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time thanks to his performances for AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, as well as Liberia.

8.Alan Shearer | England

An intelligent and tough operator, Alan Shearer is one of England’s greatest ever strikers and was renowned for his heading ability. He is, by some distance, the best goalscorer in Premier League history with 260 goals in 441 appearances and struck 30 goals in 63 games for England.

9.Zlatan Ibrahimovic | Sweden

Standing at 6’4″, Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have been forgiven for relying on his sheer physicality during his career, but the towering Swede has no shortage of technical ability either and that is what distinguishes him. Ibrahimovic’s versatility has seen him deployed as a second striker and even as a Number 10, but he excelled as a Number 9 in the early stages of his career.

10. Gabriel Batistuta | Argentina

Gabriel Batistuta’s exploits leading the forward line earned him the nickname ‘Gabigol’ and he was undoubtedly one of the finest Number 9s of his generation. A fearsome competitor, Batistuta could score goals in any fashion, whether it was a ferocious effort from the edge of the box or a deft front-post header – he could do it all.

11. Miroslav klose | Germany

When Miroslav Klose brought the curtain down on his career in 2016, he did so as Germany’s record goalscorer (71 goals in 137 games) and remains the top scorer in World Cup history with 16 goals overall, beating the likes of Ronaldo and Gerd Muller.

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