Mystery Over Cristiano Ronaldo's Jersey Ends as Manchester United Hand Him Iconic No. 7 Shirt
16:49 GMT 03.09.2021 (Updated: 10:49 GMT 26.10.2022)
Manchester United, who have won the Premier League 13 times, announced that five-time Ballon d'Or winner and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo will make a sensational return to Old Trafford from Italian behemoth Juventus. The superstar will wear the club's iconic No 7 shirt which he wore in his first stint with the club between 2003 and 2009.
Portuguese maestro Cristiano Ronaldo will take the No 7 shirt from Edinson Cavani after the Uruguayan striker vacated the number for the 36-year-old footballer. Cavani will now wear No 21, the number he wears for his country.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 2, 2021
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) September 2, 2021
"In his first six seasons at the club, between 2003 and 2009, Ronaldo made 292 appearances and scored 118 goals, winning nine trophies including three Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League."
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On the other hand, the former Real Madrid forward, thanked Cavani for his "incredible gesture" after the Uruguayan international made the decision to relinquish the No 7 shirt for him.
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"I wasn't sure if it would be possible to have the No 7 shirt again. I would like to say a huge thank you to Edi for this incredible gesture," Ronaldo said.
The mystery over Ronaldo's shirt number had reached fever pitch ever since United announced his re-signing last week.
The speculation had intensified even after Cavani was seen sporting the No 7 during Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side's 1-0 victory against Wolves during the weekend.
However, handing the No 7 to Ronaldo wasn't an easy task for United, considering Premier League rules do not permit a club to change the shirt number once a new season has started.
But the English giants asked for a special dispensation from the Football Association (FA) board. Under mounting pressure from the club, the board finally relented as Ronaldo's legendary status also weighed in his favour.
United, though, will have either to refund or provide replacements for fans who have already bought No 7 shirts that bear Cavani's name, who wore the jersey prior to Ronaldo.
The legend of No 7 at United dates back several decades as the shirt has been worn by the club's most iconic players - George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham before CR7 made the number his own in 2003 when he joined the side as a mercurial 18-year-old.
Ronaldo's six-year first spell with United from 2003 to 2009 was immensely successful. He scored an impressive 118 goals in 292 appearances and led them to three successive league titles (2007 to 09) and a UEFA Champions League victory in 2008.