Just as we were losing hope that romance in football was completely dead, Cristiano Ronaldo comes to the rescue!
The summer was already tough enough for our heart strings, with Barcelona icon Lionel Messi leaving Camp Nou to join filthy rich Paris Saint-Germain, Jack Grealish departing Aston Villa and Harry Kane trying so desperately to leave Spurs.
— 90min (@90min_Football) August 27, 2021
But when it became clear that Ronaldo wanted out of Juventus and was about to break his commitment and sign with Manchester City, it was the final nail in the romance’s coffin.
Cupid then set to work, striking the Portuguese star with his strongest arrow, which snuggled into his rock-hard pec and right into his heart, in the blink of an eye. The 36-year-old was overcome with nostalgia, and when he learned that Manchester United wanted one final dance for old times’ sake, he couldn’t refuse. In truth, the narrative could have been a little different, but let us fantasize.
Man United announced on Friday afternoon that Ronaldo was returning, shocking the football world.
He is willing to virtually complete his career by returning to the club where he earned his reputation and attempting to win another Champions League with the club where his trophy fixation began.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 27, 2021
Ronaldo’s name will be emblazoned on the back of millions of Manchester United shirts, as supporters gather to proudly wear the icon’s surname. But which numbers are available to him?
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. The number seven jersey, which is presently worn by attacker Edinson Cavani, will be coveted by CR7. In order for Ronaldo to take it on, the Uruguayan would have to be sold.
If Cavani stays but another striker departs, Ronaldo may find himself in the same situation as when he first arrived at Real Madrid, when Raul kindly informed him that he was the only number seven in town. At the start of his career in Spain, Ronaldo was obliged to wear the number nine shirt, which is now worn by Anthony Martial.
Edinson Cavani changed his username to Cavaniofficial21 on instagram. which clearly means Cristiano Ronaldo will be wearing Jersey Number 7. The number 12, which was most recently worn by Chris Smalling and Ben Foster, is the first free choice in terms of numbers that are now available. There are big shoes to fill. After Andreas Pereira departed the club to join Flamengo in Brazil, the number 15 is also a possibility.
Following Timothy Fosu-departure Mensah’s in January 2021, the number 24 has become available, which was famously occupied by Darren Fletcher for several years. During their time at Old Trafford, Gerard Pique and Darron Gibson both wore the number 28, and Ronaldo is free to continue their heritage – he wore it at Sporting and wanted to take it when he initially joined United.
The number 30 is also an option, and all of the numbers north of 30 are available save for Nemanja Matic’s 31, Donny van de Beek’s 34, and Scott McTominay’s 39.
For those hoping that Ronaldo has double vision and is eyeing the 77 shirt, the Premier League tend to reject such requests, with high numbers reserved for youth players – Renato Sanches tried to take 85 at Swansea but was denied, instead settling for 35.