AC Milan’s unlucky number nine?
Forced out of Juventus to make way for Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, Gonzalo Higuain has now become the latest victim of AC Milan’s infamous number nine shirt.
The Argentine has failed to score in his last seven games in all competitions, a spell stretching back to the match against Sampdoria on Oct. 28.
Milan too have fallen into a rut, drawing 0-0 in their last two Serie A games and suffering an embarrassing group stage exit in the Europa League after losing 3-1 at Olympiakos in between.
Milan paid Juventus 18 million euros ($20.63 million) in August to loan Higuain for a season and while have an option to buy him for 36 million euros there is already much speculation in the Italian media that they may let him go.
When Milan faced Juventus last month, Higuain’s nerves were clearly frayed as he missed a penalty and was later sent off for his furious reaction to a decision that went against him.
UNLUCKY NUMBER NINE?
Higuain, who has scored seven goals for Milan, is not the first player to struggle with the club’s number nine shirt.
Portugal forward Andre Silva, who wore it last season, scored only two goals in 24 Serie A appearances after a 40 million euros move from FC Porto.
Three seasons ago, the shirt belonged to Luiz Adriano, who managed four goals in 26 outings, while two players wore it in 2014/15 without success – Fernando Torres scoring once in 10 games and Mattia Destro three times in 15.
Alexandre Pato failed to score in four appearances in 2012/13 and nobody was allocated the shirt in 2013/14.
Coach Gennaro Gattuso said before Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Bologna that a change in attitude from Higuain was as important as better marksmanship.
“Higuain is as disappointed with anyone about the situation,” said Gattuso.
“We need his goals, but above all we need his character and his experience, he has to be an added value and motivate his teammates. He can do more.”
REUTERS/Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Peter Rutherford