Barcelona picks up latest No. 9 in transfer market
Throughout Barcelona’s history, many forwards have come and gone. Some of them have ended up the top scorers in football history while others have simply been busts.
The Culés haven’t had a true No. 9 since Luis Suárez. The No. 9 was passed on to Martin Braithwaite in the 2020/21 season as “El Pistolero” left to join Atlético Madrid. But the Dane only wore it one season before Memphis Depay took over the responsibility. Now Memphis has been asked to leave the club and even though he’s turned the proposal down, the club stripped him of the jersey number to give it to their newest striker.
With Robert Lewandowski’s arrival and him wearing the No. 9, it’s time to revisit some of the best players that have worn that number in the Catalan side’s history.
It’s impossible to make a Barcelona scorer list without the ‘Fenómeno’. Sure his name in the club has been somewhat infamous as he left the team in 1997 to join archrivals Real Madrid five years later.
Still, during his time as a Cule, he was lethal. The Brazilian managed to play in 49 games scoring 47 goals in all competitions. He helped the Blaugranas win their first ever UEFA Champions League, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de España. He finished the 96-97 season as La Liga top scorer and European Golden Boot winner.
After the 1996-97 season, Ronaldo – just 20 years old – became the youngest player to win FIFA World Player of the Year. Ronaldo left after one season to join Inter Milan.
Samuel Eto’o was one of the most consistent strikers in Barcelona’s history. He signed for Barcelona in the summer of 2004 for a transfer fee of €24 million. He immediately became a difference maker, helping the team win multiple trophies.
After five seasons with the Blaugranas, Eto’o finished his tenure with 201 played games and 131 goals scored, making him the eighth player with most goals in the team’s history. He also helped the team win 10 competitions including two UEFA Champions League, where he scored a goal in each final, and three La Liga titles where he finished a season as the Pichichi.
Eto’o followed Ronaldo’s steps by leaving the team and joining Inter Milan prior to the 2009-2010 season.
Luis Suárez’s stats speak for themselves. Third in the list of Barcelona’s top scorers with 198 goals, 13 team titles, 19 individual achievements and an unforgettable run with the Culés.
The Uruguayan joined the team on July 11, 2014 as he agreed with Barcelona on a five-year contract of £64.98 million, making him one of the most expensive players in football history at the time.
Suárez also helped the team win the UEFA Champions League. He was a key player in the 2014-15 season, creating the “MSN” with Messi and Neymar. He followed that season by winning the European Golden Boot, La Liga’s Pichichi award, was the Copa del Rey top scorer and La Liga’s best player, outscoring two of the greatest players in history Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
After a great career with the Culés, Suarez left and joined Atlético de Madrid in the 2020-21 season were he won another La Liga trophy.
In mid-1973, Cruyff was sold to Barcelona for 6 million guilders (approx. US$2 million, c. 1973) in a world record transfer fee. He helped the club win La Liga for the first time since 1960, defeating their fiercest rivals Real Madrid 5–0 at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Cruyff wasn’t the top scorer as some of the other players in this list, but there’s no denying his importance to the club, not only as a player but also as a coach. He won the Ballon d’Or twice as a Culé.
Needless to say, we can’t make a list of Barcelona’s most important players without putting ‘El Salvador’, the creator of ‘Total Football’.
César Rodríguez is part of the early No. 9s of Barcelona’s history. The Spaniard played for the club in 1939, however some military service made him move but he returned to the team by 1942.
After a 13-year tenure, he appeared in 351 official matches, scoring 232 goals, making him the highest goalscorer in the club’s history for several decades — until Messi broke his record. César also surpassed the 20-goal mark in three seasons.
Cesar won 13 titles with the club, and won the Pichichi in the 1948-49 season. He remains the second best scorer in club history.
Now Lewandowski is going to wear the historic No. 9. He has been one of the best players in the world in the last half decade. A claim backed up by his 161 goals in that period. True, that’s in the past and a new page on his career starts. Barcelona supporters can only hope his best seasons are still ahead of him.