Cristiano Ronaldo could soon be back in the red of Manchester United, but he won’t be able to wear his famous No.7 this season
In what has been a stunning couple of days of developments, United are closing in on bringing club icon Ronaldo back to Old Trafford 12 years on from his departure for Real Madrid.
The 36-year-old has made his desire to leave Juventus clear and on Thursday he seemed set to join fierce rivals Manchester City after their move for Harry Kane failed to materialise.
However, it’s understood that his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson reached out to Ronaldo on Friday morning to talk about returning to United and City have since dropped their interest.
United are now in the process of finalising a two-year contract with the Portuguese and plans are in place for his medical to be conducted in Lisbon.
However, Ronaldo won’t be able to wear his favourite No.7 shirt when he’s back at United, at least not for his first season.
Ronaldo joined the likes of George Best, David Beckham and Eric Cantona as iconic No.7s during his first stint at Old Trafford and continued to wear the shirt at Real Madrid, Juventus and for the Portuguese national side.
However, since the number is already assigned to Edinson Cavani he can’t wear it, as the Premier League season has already begun and swaps between players during the campaign are against the rules.
Section M Players’ Identification and Strip, of the Premier League Handbook for the 2021/22 season states that: “Before the commencement of each Season each Club shall allocate a different shirt number to each member of its first team squad.
“While he remains with the Club a Player will retain his shirt number throughout the Season for which it was allocated.”
The only way in which a number can become available again once the season has begun is if the player wearing the number leaves or if the Premier League give special dispensation, which has never been granted before
Section M.5 states: “Upon a Player leaving a Club the shirt number allocated to him may be re-allocated.”
So unless Cavani leaves United before Ronaldo comes in, which seems highly unlikely, Ronaldo will have to choose a different number.
There aren’t many options available to him due to United’s bloated squad but the No.28, which he wore at Sporting, may be a sentimental choice.