Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel on Friday said the No. 9 shirt had not been left available ahead of a potential signing, but because it was thought to be cursed after several players who wore it did not leave a mark at the London club.
Lukaku was the last to wear the shirt after returning to Chelsea for a club-record fee of ￡97.5 (US$117.7 million), but after one lackluster season he rejoined Serie A side Inter, with whom he won the 2020-2021 scudetto.
Several forwards who wore the No. 9 shirt, including Hernan Crespo, Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao, Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata, failed to leave a mark at Chelsea despite their stellar track record.
“People tell me it’s cursed... It’s not the case that we leave it open for tactical reasons,” Tuchel told reporters.
“Surprisingly, nobody wants to touch it. Everybody who is here longer than me tells me: ‘Ah, you know, he had the nine and he did not score and he had the nine and did also not score,’” he said.
“So we now we have a moment where nobody wants to touch the number nine. I’m also superstitious, I can understand why players maybe don’t touch it and have other preferences,” Tuchel added.
Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a move to Chelsea and the No. 9 shirt in the close season, although Tuchel remained vague about another signing before the end of the transfer window.
“Maybe we bring one more player, maybe not... We have options but at the same time, we know how many games are coming. So let’s see if we can still maybe sign a player,” he said.
An 82-year-old man on Saturday set off from Kaohsiung’s Sizihwan Bay (西子灣) to circumnavigate Taiwan in a sailboat in 29 days. Chinese Taipei Sailing Association vice president Chan Cheng-feng said the trip had been a dream of his for the past 40 years. Chan, who also heads the Kaohsiung Municipal Athletics Federation’s sailing committee, has been working to promote the sport in Taiwan since leaving the Marine Corps in 1976. The biggest challenge has been ensuring that people learn how to deal with problems at sea and know how to avoid danger, Chan said. The octogenarian said it is exciting to “still be having
Tuesday night was another home run, another pitching win, another spot in the history books — just another night for Shohei Ohtani. The two-way sensation from Japan withstood another injury scare and pitched six scoreless innings to go with his team-leading 25th home run, reaching yet another monumental milestone as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1. Ohtani joined Babe Ruth (1918) as the only players in major league history to have at least 10 home runs and 10 wins in the same season. The Angels said that two players from the Negro Leagues also did it: Bullet Rogan of the
A tearful Naomi Osaka on Tuesday retired injured and US Open champion Emma Raducanu fell at the first hurdle as the top women’s players continued their preparations for Flushing Meadows at the Canadian Open in Toronto. News of the pending retirement of Serena Williams overshadowed proceedings at the tune-up for the year’s final Grand Slam, but there were no shortage of first-round upsets for fans to enjoy, including one by local Bianca Andreescu. Twice US Open champion Osaka, in only her second tournament back from an Achilles injury, battled on gamely before retiring while trailing Kaia Kanepi 7-6 (7/4), 3-0. “I felt my
As David Popovici has accelerated past his older rivals in the pool this summer, it seemed inevitable that the skinny 17-year-old would threaten world records. The only surprise when he broke the 100m freestyle mark in Rome on Saturday was that he got so quick so fast. On Friday, the Romanian had become only the fourth man in history to swim under 47 seconds as he set a European record to win his semi-final at the European Aquatics Championships in Rome. That was more than half a second faster than his gold-medal time at the FINA World Championships in June. On Saturday,