Before you read on, please take a moment. When you think of a number 9 in football, what type of player comes to mind?
Rogerinho was our only major signing in the off-season, so we all had high hopes for our new Brazilian number 9, hopes that he has certainly not lived up to at this point in time. First, in case you haven't seen him play, he is NOT a number 9. He is a midfielder. Call me old fashioned, or even petty, but in the game of football that I know, midfielders do not wear the number 9 shirt. That shirt is bestowed upon a CENTER FORWARD who has earned the right to wear it by demonstrating his prowess as a footballer in front of the goal by scoring goals. The said player has not done that for his current team or any of his previous teams, so I take issue with the club's complete disregard for footballing tradition.
"Wait" you say! "Squad numbers don't mean anything in the modern game. The days of a team wearing shirts 1 to 11 are long gone."
Perhaps. But how many number 9 midfielders can YOU name (without doing a google search for all of the number 9s in the Turkish 2nd division)?
We all know that once the players take to the field, it doesn't really matter what number is on their backs, because they play in the position that the manager has designated for them. Number 2s can go bombing up the wing to assist in attack while number 10s can drop back to help in defense when needed. But the decision to give Rogerinho the number 9 shirt this season says a lot more about the club, specifically its attitude to foreign signings.
Here's my take on it.
Rogerinho, who was, in all honesty, an unknown quantity before he signed for us, arrived in Japan in January already a star in the eyes of the club. Consequently, he was immediately given, not only a hero's welcome, but a massive salary comparable to many well-established J.League players. As for the shirt, there were no other "low" numbers available, so instead of giving him a number that I would consider fitting for an unknown midfielder, they increase his star status even more by giving him the number 9 - even before he has kicked a ball. Maybe the "9" is to remind us how many times the player has changed teams during the last 6 years - mostly on loan!
The player has had some good moments since his arrival. He is quick off the mark and is good with the ball at his feet. However, he doesn't take on players in a one-on-one situation, his passing has been almost embarrassing for a midfielder, and he has fluffed all chances on goal so far. I believe he will improve, but I disagree with the "star" treatment the club gives new foreign signings, and seriously question our scouting network. Why doesn't the club sign players with a decent track record in the J.League? Why do they continue to risk our league and financial status on unknown Brazilians?