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List of the best number 9 soccer players of all time

Forwards are those who bear the brunt of most attacking plays, and they are the players tasked with completing the job by scoring goals. While many players who have played for their beloved teams in the past may be forgotten, they will never forget the players who scored decisive goals, bringing crucial victories to their teams; and these players often run on the field wearing the number 9 jersey. This article by bestsoccertips discusses the greatest number 9 soccer players in history.

Best Number 9 Soccer Players

1. Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer is one of the dominant players in the English Premier League with remarkable achievements. Starting his career at Southampton to become the greatest player in the league’s history is a story of dedication, skill, and passion for the sport.

The audience at Southampton witnessed his talent while wearing different jerseys, including the number 9 jersey. However, it was during his time at Blackburn Rovers that he became a formidable force.

Number 9 soccer players: Alan Shearer
Number 9 soccer players: Alan Shearer

Wearing the iconic number 9 jersey, Shearer led Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League title. He then moved to Newcastle United and became the author of a football masterpiece. For over a decade, he shone in the number 9 jersey, elevating Newcastle to new heights.

The traditional giants of the Premier League found themselves troubled against this powerful team, largely due to Shearer’s excellent goal-scoring skills. His goal-scoring ability, combined with his leadership skills, enhanced the team’s stature as well as his legacy. Shearer’s 679 appearances and 353 goals, along with 90 assists, speak volumes about his impact on the game.

2. Ronaldo

When it comes to the number 9 jersey, this legendary figure is considered the greatest number 9 of all time by many. Today, Ronaldo’s days are filled with excitement as he manages Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, the team that made him famous. Ronaldo’s playing days were a phenomenon, and as one of the greatest forwards in football, he was a formidable force on the field.

His career began at Cruzeiro in Brazil, where he debuted and honed his skills. However, transitioning to international play brought him to clubs across Europe, where the number on his back often changed. From his early days at PSV Eindhoven to his time at Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and Corinthians, Ronaldo’s jersey number may have changed, but his footballing qualities remained consistent.

Soccer players with the number 9: Ronaldo
Soccer players with the number 9: Ronaldo

It was in the jersey of the Brazilian national team that Ronaldo’s number 9 jersey became iconic. He was a true master at the international level, carrying the weight of that jersey gracefully, making him a football legend in Brazil. In 452 club matches, Ronaldo scored 295 goals and provided 76 assists. His illustrious career includes 19 titles, including 5 with the Brazilian national team.

3. Gabriel Batistuta

With pride and unwavering passion, Gabriel Batistuta became the iconic number 9 of AC Fiorentina, playing a role not only as a stellar player but also as an indispensable part of the club’s identity and international football. Throughout his time with AC Fiorentina, Batistuta demonstrated a strong and unbreakable bond between himself and the team, while inspiring and instilling pride in the fans.

Famous number 9 soccer players: Gabriel Batistuta
Famous number 9 soccer players: Gabriel Batistuta

Every season, Batistuta’s image in the Fiorentina number 9 jersey was not just a presence on the field but also a symbol of the club’s spirit and loyalty. In the late ’90s, with his ruthlessness and outstanding goal-scoring ability, this forward made the number 9 jersey versatile and formidable on the pitch. With the Argentine national team, Batistuta continued to maintain his form, always displaying his distinctive style of play, making the number he wore a symbol of determination and fighting spirit.

4. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski is one of the greatest forwards in football history and has primarily showcased his qualities wearing the number 9 jersey. Despite playing in an era dominated by great players, this Polish forward has carved out his unique legacy as a master wearing the number 9 jersey. Lewandowski’s career began humbly at Legia Warsaw, where he took his first steps towards greatness.

At Znicz Pruszków, he first wore the number 9 jersey, and his move to Lech Poznan was a great period in his career, wearing the number 8 jersey during his time there. However, his move to the Bundesliga in Germany put Lewandowski in the spotlight. At Borussia Dortmund, initially struggling while wearing the number 7 jersey, in 2011 he acquired the number 9 jersey.

Soccer players with number 9: Robert Lewandowski
Soccer players with number 9: Robert Lewandowski

And thus began the legend of Robert Lewandowski, as he showcased his attacking prowess and became the target of top clubs. Lewandowski’s achievements are immense, winning 27 titles, 19 of which were won during his time at Bayern Munich. His 511 club goals and 136 assists in 678 matches also testify to how well he has excelled in the number 9 position and jersey.

5. Dimitar Berbatov

The number 9 jersey has been worn by many football legends, and among them is Dimitar Berbatov, the football genius dubbed by Sir Alex Ferguson. His name resonated deeply after his time playing in the English Premier League, especially with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. We all admired his trademark ball control and lethal finishing ability.

Best number 9 in football: Dimitar Berbatov
Best number 9 in football: Dimitar Berbatov

Before moving to the Premier League, we witnessed Berbatov’s brilliant performances in the Bayer Leverkusen jersey in Germany, where he scored 69 goals in 154 appearances, wearing the number 9 jersey. In 2006, he joined Tottenham Hotspur for a then-record fee for a Bulgarian player. He was given the number 9 jersey, a sign of his goal-scoring prowess.

Also at Manchester United, he inherited the number 9 jersey from Louis Saha, and Berbatov’s time at Old Trafford brought two Premier League titles, a League Cup, etc. He wore the number 9 jersey for four different clubs over more than a decade.

6. Erling Braut Haaland

Haaland has made a remarkable impression, winning the hearts of football fans worldwide. At the age of 22, he has reshaped the history of this sport. His father was also a great footballer, and today Erling is wearing the famous number 9 jersey of Manchester City. His physical skills and innate goal-scoring instincts belie his age.

Best number 9 soccer players: Erling Braut Haaland
Best number 9 soccer players: Erling Braut Haaland

Wearing the number 9 jersey began at Borussia Dortmund in the 2020/21 season, where he made a tremendous impact by identifying himself as a goal-scoring predator. In 2022, Manchester City recognized the rising star’s connection with the number 9 and his innate striker instinct. And he exploded onto the scene in the Premier League. Early victories helped him become one of the legendary number 9s, with an impressive 138 goals and 37 assists in 187 Bundesliga matches.

7. Gerd Müller

Gerd Müller is one of the most famous players to ever wear the number 9 jersey, affectionately called “Der Bomber.” With his ability to appear in the air and find the net, he was truly a goal-scoring phenomenon of his generation.

Number 9 soccer players: Gerd Müller
Number 9 soccer players: Gerd Müller

Even after his passing, his record as the all-time leading Bundesliga scorer with 365 goals for Bayern Munich remains unchallenged. He epitomizes Bayern’s prolific scoring history, a record that even the illustrious Robert Lewandowski would need another year to surpass.

Throughout his club career, Müller wore the iconic number 9 jersey, and with each appearance, he broke records and set a standard few players could hope to achieve.

8. Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema’s rise to become the world’s greatest striker began at Olympique Lyonnais, where he debuted as a professional footballer in 2004. His five-year stint with the French Ligue 1 club showcased his talent and potential, making him one of the best young forwards in the world. In 2009, Real Madrid emerged victorious in a fierce bidding war to secure his services.

With the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema was handed the number 11 jersey, and the following season, the iconic number 9 jersey was bestowed upon him. Benzema’s early years at Real Madrid were overshadowed by the Portuguese superstar. However, he managed to assert himself as an indispensable part of the team.

Soccer players with the number 9: Karim Benzema
Soccer players with the number 9: Karim Benzema

Over the next nine years, his partnership with Ronaldo formed a deadly combination. After Ronaldo’s departure, Benzema became the heart of Real Madrid. His record of 756 club appearances, 391 goals, and 187 assists speaks volumes about his contribution to the sport. With 31 magnificent titles, including 5 Champions League trophies.

9. George Weah

George Weah is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in Africa with his impact on the game. He was a superb player and one of the famous number 9 jersey wearers. The pinnacle of Weah’s football career came in 1995, a year that saw him make history as FIFA’s Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner.

These accolades were unusual for an African player representing a country on the international stage. His achievements include numerous African Player of the Year awards and being hailed as the African Player of the Century. FIFA highlighted his influence on the development of the sport, calling him the father of modern football forwards.

Famous number 9 soccer players: George Weah
Famous number 9 soccer players: George Weah

After retiring from football, he delved deeper into politics in Liberia, founding the Congress for Democratic Change and starting a political career that saw him run for president. His fervent dedication to the realm of politics propelled him to secure a seat as a senator and culminated in his historic election as the President of Liberia in 2017.

10. Fernando Torres

The role of the number 9 player has evolved from mere goal-scoring to creative skills and finishing. As the tactics of the game develop, so does the responsibility of the modern number 9. We all remember him from his playing days. Torres is a product of the Atletico Madrid academy, where he showcased himself as a modern forward with versatile skills and contributions.

In history, the sole job of the classic number 9 was to convert chances created by teammates. However, modern football demands more, seamless integration into the build-up play, intelligent runs, and an approach to support teammates.

Soccer players with number 9: Fernando Torres
Soccer players with number 9: Fernando Torres

Torres is a prime example of this evolution as he showed the ability to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the game. Growing up in the Atletico Madrid academy in 2001, Torres rose to the first team. He had a fantastic six years with his childhood club to pave the way for his transformative career. He exploded onto the Premier League scene, joining Liverpool and becoming an icon at Anfield, with over 142 appearances, 81 goals, and 20 assists.

Though he couldn’t replicate his extraordinary Liverpool form at Chelsea, he played a crucial role in the team’s triumph in the 2012 Champions League. He was also a reliable number 9 in Spain’s golden generation, scoring crucial goals in consecutive EURO finals in 2008 and 2012, leading Spain to victory in both occasions.


In the rich tapestry of soccer history, the legacy of number 9 players stands as a testament to the sport’s enduring allure and captivating narratives. From the thunderous strikes of Alan Shearer to the finesse of Robert Lewandowski, each player has carved their own path to greatness, leaving an indelible mark on the game. Whether it’s the electrifying pace of Ronaldo or the clinical finishing of Karim Benzema, the number 9 jersey symbolizes more than just a position on the field—it represents a tradition of excellence and a relentless pursuit of victory. Reflecting on the accomplishments of these legendary figures serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring enchantment and widespread fascination that soccer holds worldwide. It stands as a testament to the sport’s everlasting allure and its ability to transcend boundaries, captivating the imaginations and passions of individuals across the globe.

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