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Shevchenko backs Krzysztof Piatek as AC Milan’s new no.9

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AC Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko reckons Krzysztof Piatek “deserves” the huge honour of donning the club’s famous number 9 jersey.

The number nine shirt carries a great significance in Milan’s history, with many football greats donning the jersey during their time at the San Siro.

The most prominent ones of all to wear it are Filippo Inzaghi, George Weah and Marco van Basten. Therefore, the jersey bears a lot of expectation for the wearer.

Since Inzaghi hung up his boots in 2012, however, Milan have struggled to find a worthy successor. Eight different players in Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Matri, Mattia Destro, Fernando Torres, Luiz Adriano, Gianluca Lapadula, Andre Silva and Gonzalo Higuain have all tried and failed.

Now, the Rossoneri have turned to new star striker Piatek to take on the mantle after a stunning start to his San Siro career.

The 24-year-old was nothing short of sensational upon completing a €35m move from Genoa in January. He ended up with 11 goals to his name in 21 appearances and will likely lead Milan’s challenge for a top-four Serie A spot next season.

“He certainly deserves the number 9 jersey,” Shevchenko told Gazzetta dello Sport on Piatek.

“The way he entered Milan, the naturalness, the important goals he scored. It was a great impact and now it is right that Kris also takes responsibility for such an important shirt.

“It is not just a matter of wearing certain shirts, the history of Milan itself is beautiful and at the same time difficult to wear on the skin.

“This is demonstrated by the attachment of the fans. In recent times the results have not been the same, yet I saw thousands of people at Milanello for the start of pre-season. An incredible warmth.”

After starring for Genoa in the first half of last season, Piatek finished his first campaign in Italy as the Serie A’s third-highest scorer on 22 goals in 37 games.

Milan will certainly hope their new Polish hotshot won’t lose his touch as a number 9 by continuing to fire in the goals for them.

MILAN, ITALY – APRIL 04: Andriy Shevchenko of AC Milan celebrates victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between AC Milan and Lyon at the San Siro Stadium on April 4, 2006 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)