AC Milan have announced their new number nine, with Polish sensation Krzysztof Piatek given the historic squad number ahead of the upcoming Serie A season.
It’s a shirt that has been worn by many greats of the game, but since Filippo Inzaghi hung up his boots in 2012 it has been difficult to fill for the Rossoneri.
Piatek takes on the mantle having found the back of the net a respectable nine times in 18 appearances following his January move from Genoa, where he scored an impressive 13 goals in 19 games in his first season in Italy.
We take a look back at six previous number nines in Milan’s history, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Milan’s last great number nine, Filippo Inzaghi spent eleven years at the San Siro, notching 126 goals in 300 matches. After joining the Rossoneri from Juventus for a reported £17m fee in 2001, he became an icon for Milan fans. During his time at the club Milan won two Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues and a Club World Cup.
His retirement in 2012 was the end of an era and they’ve struggled to reach those heights since, despite Inzaghi returning to the club for a brief spell as manager in 2014.
Without question one of the greatest players of the 90’s, the first and only African player to win the FIFA World Player of the Year and the current President of Liberia. George Weah wore the number nine shirt for Milan from 1995 until he departed for Chelsea in 2000.
Playing alongside the legendary Roberto Baggio, Weah was part of a Milan side crowned Italian champions twice. His most memorable goal in the famous red and black shirt came against Hellas Verona in 1996 when, from a Verona corner, he picked up the ball and ran the entire length of the pitch before finding the bottom corner of the net.
It didn’t work out that way. After struggling for form at Chelsea, Torres scored just once in his ten matches for the club before returning to boyhood club Atlético Madrid in January 2015.
After firing Pescara to promotion with 30 goals in 43 appearances in the 2015/16 season, Milan paid £8m to bring him to the San Siro. Lapadula struggled to make the step up from Serie B and only managed eight goals in his 27 appearances for the Rossoneri, before being shipped out to Genoa at the end of the season.
When Milan broke the world transfer record to bring legendary French striker Jean-Pierre Papin to Italy in 1992 it seemed to be the start of something great. Papin had been a talisman for the great Marseille team who lifted four consecutive Ligue 1 titles and reached the European Cup final in 1991, with Papin winning the Ballon D’or that same year.
His arrival coincided with the most successful spell in Milan’s history and they reached another Champions League final together in 1993, somewhat ironically losing to Papin’s former employers. Whilst injuries meant that he was unable to produce his best during his time with the club, he departed for Bayern in 1994 having contributed a respectable 18 goals in 40 matches.
Marco van Basten
You cannot discuss the greatest Milan side, some say the best to ever play the game anywhere, without Marco van Basten. He arrived in 1987 alongside fellow countryman Ruud Gullit and together they shot Milan to their first league title in eight years.
During his time with the Rossoneri, Van Basten was voted European Player of the Year three times, topped the Serie A goal-scoring charts twice, lifted back-to-back European Cups, three Serie A titles, a European Super Cup and two Intercontinental Cups.
A succession of injuries meant that he was forced to retire at the relatively early age of 33, after failing to make a single appearance in the 1993/94 or 1994/95 seasons, in which time Milan were once again crowned champions of Italy and Europe.
All told Van Basten scored 124 goals in 201 appearances during Milan’s greatest period, forver etching his name as one of the club’s greatest number nines.