Former Middlesbrough hero Martin Braithwaite has succeeded Luis Suarez as Barcelona’s number 9.
The Denmark international moved to Catalonia in a controversial £15m deal in February after La Liga gave Barça permission to make an emergency transfer outside the transfer window following injuries to both Ousmane Dembele and Suarez.
Braithwaite’s former club, although, Leganes, had been unable to buy a alternative. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old scored once in 11 La Liga appearances for Quique Setien on the end of last season and is but to seem for Ronald Koeman’s side this time period.
The rightful inheritor to a modern-day icon, then.
Barcelona revealed their official squad numbers for the 2020/21 season on their official Twitter pageon Tuesday afternoon, with Braithwaite taking the number 9 strip beforehand worn by Suarez following his move from Liverpool in 2014.
The 33-year-old Uruguayan, although, was told by Koeman that he wasn’t half of his plans for the upcoming marketing campaign and he made the change to home rivals Atletico Madrid for a mere £5m to deliver to an end a mightily profitable spell at Camp Nou.
Suarez secured 13 items of sliverware throughout his time at Barcelona, scoring an spectacular 198 goals within the course of – a tally which ranks third all-time within the club’s scoring charts.
The club, nonetheless, had been unable to safe a alternative for Suarez within the transfer window after a proposed move for Memphis Depay failed to materialise. Thus, Braithwaite could play an vital – if not restricted – position for Koeman this time period along with his new number 9 shirt.
Reports had beforehand emerged that the Dane had requested for Lionel Messi’s number ten shirt when it appeared seemingly that the Argentine would depart Catalonia in the summertime.
Although, Braithwaite was swift to dismiss these claims: “What do people suppose themselves?
“Of course I didn’t go to the club and ask for Messi’s number. It could be so disrespectful. I actually really feel that the people who come up with these varieties of stories lack respect for a lot of people.” he said.