Alvaro Morata was “begged” not to inherit the “cursed” No.9 shirt at Chelsea, but opted to ignore that advice following a £70 million move.
The Spaniard completed a big-money switch to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid over the summer, with the reigning Premier League champions in need of striking inspiration following the decision to part with Diego Costa.
Charged with the task of being a leading man in the final third, Morata opted to take a number befitting of such a role.
That decision was taken despite his new team-mates pointing out that since the heady days of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink plundering 70 goals for the Blues, the likes of Mateja Kezman, Khalid Boulahrouz, Steve Sidwell, Franco Di Santo, Fernando Torres and Radamal Falcao have already flattered to deceive with nine on their back.
Morata told FourFourTwo: “That was one of the first things I was told after turning up here.
"Even the lads were begging me not to take that shirt because it was cursed, but I wanted it.
“I’ve done a couple of little things to avoid the bad luck that the shirt supposedly brings.
“Can I tell you what I’ve done? No chance. If I did that, the curse will come back!”
Morata appeared to have avoided the “curse” after blasting out of the blocks at Chelsea with seven goals in eight appearances.
He has, however, gone six games without finding the target heading into a crunch clash with Manchester United on Sunday.
The 25-year-old was also targeted by the Red Devils over the summer, but they handed their own No.9 jersey to Romelu Lukaku.
He will be determined to show them what they missed out on in a heavyweight encounter at Stamford Bridge, while getting back on the goal trail and avoiding any more comparisons to high-profile flops of the recent past.