Martin Braithwaite is Barcelona’s new No 9! Middlesbrough flop takes Luis Suarez’s shirt just two years after playing for Tony Pulis at the Riverside as giants reveal their new squad numbers
- Braithwaite left England for Spain in January 2019 after a spell on Teesside
- Johan Cruyff and Ronaldo are among the famous names to have worn the shirt
- Denmark forward Braithwaite joined Barcelona in controversial circumstances
The Denmark international, who arrived at the Nou Camp in controversial fashion from Leganes earlier this year, has scored once in 11 games for the Catalan outfit, but dons the iconic jersey after Suarez was deemed surplus to requirements by new manager Ronald Koeman and joined Diego Simeone’s side.
Suarez now has the No 9 shirt at Atletico.
Martin Braithwaite’s career has seen him play for the likes of Middlesbrough and Toulouse
Luis Suarez has swapped clubs but kept his number after Ronald Koeman decided to sell him
Legends of the game who have worn No 9 for Barcelona include Johan Cruyff, Ronaldo, Patrick Kluivert, Samuel Eto’o, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez.
This time last year, Braithwaite was establishing himself at Leganes after signing permanently in July 2019.
His move to Spain came after an unremarkable spell at Middlesbrough, where he scored nine times in 40 games under Garry Monk and Tony Pulis.
After proving himself to be one of Leganes’ most important players, Braithwaite was then subject to an unexpected bid from Barcelona in February after Ousmane Dembele had suffered a serious hamstring injury that ruled him out for six months.
La Liga rules allow clubs to apply to make new signings outside the transfer window if a player is ruled out for more than five months.
Alexis Sanchez is one of a number of big names to have held the No 9 shirt at the Nou Camp
Leganes’ relegation was sealed in July after they finished one point off 17th-placed Celta Vigo
Barcelona were then given the green light to sign Braithwaite and with his £15m release clause met, Leganes were powerless to stop one of their key assets leaving and were unable to sign a replacement, having lost fellow attacker Youssef En-Nesyri to Sevilla the previous month.
Leganes general director Martin Ortega was livid at the Braithwaite ruling: ‘We consider that there is a regulation that is unfair, from which Barcelona has benefited. The one who is damaged by this is Leganes.’
Leganes were subsequently relegated and despite his very modest contribution under former Barca boss Quique Setien, Braithwaite now holds one of the most historic shirts in world sport.