After a few days of uncertainty, English Premier League side Manchester United confirmed on Thursday that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will wear his iconic No. 7 shirt now that he has returned to the club.
Manchester United had to seek special permission from the Premier League for Ronaldo to wear 7, as the club had already submitted a squad list ahead of their first match on Aug. 14. That list had striker Edinson Cavani wearing 7.
Cavani will take the No. 21 shirt, which was recently vacated by winger Daniel James when he completed a transfer to Leeds United. Cavani also wears No. 21 for the Uruguayan national team.
“I wasn’t sure if it was possible to have the number seven shirt again, so I would like to say a huge thank you to Edi for this incredible gesture,” Ronaldo is quoted as saying on Manchester United’s Twitter account.
Normally the Premier League does not allow players to switch squad numbers during the season.
Had the Premier League not allowed the switch to free up No. 7, other squad number options available at United included 12, 24, 30, 32, and 35. United lists players on its first-team roster page with numbers as high as 47.
According to Forbes, Ronaldo wore No. 28 when he played at Sporting Lisbon early in his career, but switched to No. 7 when he joined Manchester United the first time back in 2004. Apparently it was legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson who convinced him to take the number even though it came with huge expectations — the last player to wear it before Ronaldo was David Beckham.
When Ronaldo transferred to Real Madrid in 2009, he wore the No. 9 shirt for a season because club legend Raul was wearing No. 7 at the time. But when Raul moved to Schalke 04 in Germany in 2010, Ronaldo snapped it up.
He also wore No. 7 at Juventus between 2018 and 2021.
Feature photo courtesy ManUtd.com