Nine is the magic number today as the countdown to the FIFA World Cup moves into single figures.
Yes, just NINE days to go until Brazil kick off the 2014 World Cup so we thought it would only be right to celebrate the best number nines to have played in football’s premier competition.
5. Filippo Inzaghi (Italy)
The Italy striker may have been “born offside” according to Sir Alex Ferguson, but he sure knew where the goal was. 25 goals in 57 international games, Inzaghi helped fill the void after Roberto Baggio’s retirement. Inzaghi may have only scored one goal at a World Cup, but not many players score 57 goals for Juventus and 73 for Milan.
4. Alan Shearer (England)
When Gary Lineker retired, England needed a goal machine – and Mr Shearer filled the void with 30 goals in 63 international matches. Given England’s failure to make USA 94, Shearer only played in one World Cup – but he still managed to score twice. An England legend and undoubtedly one of the world’s finest number nines.
3 Davor Suker (Croatia)
For sheer talent, Suker has to be on the list. He scored in all but one of Croatia’s games at the 1998 World Cup as they marched all the way to the semi-finals, only to be beaten by hosts France. Suker scored six goals in that tournament and won the Golden Boot and underlined his ability during spells with Sevilla, Real Madrid, Arsenal and, ahem, West Ham.
2. Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)
Batigol may have swapped football for polo in recent years, but he was one of the world’s deadliest strikers for many years throughout the 90s. Batistuta scored four times at USA 94 and five times at France 98 during a 78-game international career that saw him find the net a staggering 56 times. Without doubt, one of football’s finest ever number nines.
1. Ronaldo (Brazil)
Who else? The Phenomenon was part of the Brazil squad for USA 94 but didn’t get his chance at a World Cup until France 98. He scored four goals in that tournament, eight in 2002, including both goals in the final, and three more at Germany 2006 to become the World Cup’s most prolific striker with 15 goals. The man was a freak of nature and, by some distance, the best ever World Cup number nine.
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