When Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte sent a text message to the beleaguered Diego Costa saying that he no longer wanted the former Brazilian striker, many pundits questioned the Italian's sanity. No one would've expected the manager to get rid of the player whose goals massively contributed to Antonio Conte's triumphant debut season. However, replacing the unhappy Diego Costa with Alvaro Morata who hit good form in his first game, and has remained consistent in his top performance, now makes some sense.

If there is a shirt number that players fight for in various clubs, then that number would be shirt number nine, but that's not the same story at Chelsea, where in most cases, the shirt has no occupant.

In fact, players at Chelsea try to avoid the shirt like the plague and most of the time, the bearer of that shirt doesn't feature in the starting eleven. The entry of Alvaro Morata is slowly putting the superstition to rest with his goal-scoring prowess so far.

Alvaro Morata who arrived from Real Madrid in the summer chose to take the historic unwanted shirt, but he's already doing better than the players who never wore the shirt. Former European Player of The Year, Andriy Shevchenko who arrived at Chelsea from AC Milan avoided the shirt to take his favorite number seven jersey, but he still flopped at Chelsea. Riccardo Quaresma went for jersey number eighteen but never managed to score a goal for the Londoners while serving his loan deal from Inter Milan.

Players who failed while wearing the unlucky number nine shirt

It isn't easy to count Chelsea players who have been successful while wearing the jinxed shirt, but there are a few who have displayed average ability in the garment. While at Chelsea, the Argentine international Franco di Santos, wore the shirt in his nine appearances for The Blues, but never managed to score a goal.

The striker spent most of his Chelsea contract as an unused substitute or serving loan deals in clubs like Wigan Athletic.

In 2007, Steve Sidwell arrived at Chelsea from the relegated Reading. Sidwell, who had an impressive goalscoring career at Reading, took the number nine shirt but didn't bag any goal in his 15 appearances for Chelsea.

Before the English midfielder joined Chelsea, he had managed to score 29 goals during his four-year stay at Reading. The Arsenal Academy graduate was only able to stay at Chelsea for one season.

Despite being a defender, Khalid Boulahrouz joined the West Londoners in 2006 from Humberger SV and decided to take a shirt meant for a striker. Of course, he never scored goals for his side in his 15 appearances, which is unlikely for a defensive player. The player who joined Jose Mourinho's side as a versatile backup for all the defensive positions. ended up suffering injury spells and even after his recovery, Michael Essien filled in his place whenever a regular defender was missing. In the end, he was loaned to Sevilla before securing a move back to the German Bundesliga.

Fernando Torres, a compatriot of Alvaro Morata in the Spanish national team, is the biggest name who wore the jersey after making the English club record-signing 50 Million Pound move from Liverpool. Torres made goals rain so fast that he acquired the nickname 'El-Nino' at Liverpool, after scoring 65 goals in his 102 appearances in five years at Anfield. However, at Chelsea, he could only manage a paltry 20 goals during a five-year stay. Mateja Kezman who signed for the Blues in 2004 could only last a season after scoring a disappointing four goals in 25 fixtures while wearing the number nine jersey.

Any success story with the shirt at Stamford Bridge?

Even though it isn't easy to rate Hernan Crespo as a flop at Chelsea, it would also be wrong to group him with the most successful attackers the club has had in its history.

The Argentine joined The Blues from Inter Milan in 2003 and wore the nine jersey which was previously worn by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. The striker who also has an Italian passport scored a total of 20 goals in his two spells after featuring on 49 occasions for the Blues. Even though his period at Stamford Bridge was rocked by injuries and loan deals, he managed to deliver quite well, considering the few appearances he made for the club.

The player who left a mark with the jersey is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who joined the club in 2000 and scored a massive 70 goals in only 136 games in his four years of service. The Dutch striker's entry into Chelsea caused a lot of controversy. The manager secretly signed him on and faked the name 'Jimmy' instead of Jerrel, which was his real name.

The big striker was involved in theft incidents around the training ground but never failed in his duty of scoring more goals for his team.

Can Alvaro Morata emulate Jimmy, or become even greater than him at scoring goals, while wearing the number nine shirt?