Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a Hollywood return to Manchester United with the summer transfer window now open.
Reports recently claimed the Juventus star had been given the offer of a two-year contract in order to return to Old Trafford, albeit with the 36-year-old reluctant to lower his wage demands. So, with that the case, it’s time to wind the clock back and look at his shirt number demand when he first arrived.
It was a hammer blow for the Red Devils, who had originally intended on swooping for Ronaldinho as a potential replacement.
When United learnt that Ronaldinho would in fact be joining Barcelona, it forced them back to the drawing board. And, while on a pre season tour, they stumbled across their solution.
Ronaldo gave the club a runaround when turning out for Sporting Lisbon, terrorising them. And, in the end, that prompted the Red Devils’ top brass into action.
United signed the youngster, bringing him to Old Trafford in a £13million deal and handing him the No 7 shirt made famous by the likes of Beckham, George Best and Eric Cantona.
However, Ronaldo later revealed he’d actually requested the No 28 jersey instead – the same one he donned at Sporting.
I was a little bit afraid, petrified, because, I knew that Beckham used that shirt before.
“But I said OK, I accept the challenge, and since then it’s been my lucky number. Because everything I have won in football, it was with that shirt. It’s my lucky number.
“It was good, I felt great because it [No.7] came with more responsibility.
“It was the beginning of my success in football and probably one of the beautiful moments in my career so far.
You don’t classify a player of that quality as anything else. I trust him and my players.”
Meanwhile, writing on social media recently, Ronaldo appeared to say farewell to Juventus.
He said: “The life and career of any top player are made of ups and downs.
“Year after year, we face fantastic teams, with extraordinary players and ambitious goals, so we always have to give our best to keep ourselves at excellence levels.
“This year we couldn’t win Serie A, congratulations to Inter for the well-deserved title. However, I have to value everything that we achieved this season at Juventus, both in collective and individual terms.
“The Italian Super Cup, the Italian Cup and the Serie A Top Scorer trophy fill me with happiness, mainly due to the difficulty they carry with them, in a country where nothing is easy to win.
With these achievements, I reached a goal that I had set myself since the first day I arrived in Italy: to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and top scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players, giant clubs and a very own football culture.
“I’ve already said that I don’t chase records, records chase me. For those who don’t understand what I mean by this, it’s very simple: football is a collective game, but it is through individual overcoming that we help our teams achieve their goals.
“It is always looking for more and more on the field, working more and more off the field, that records eventually emerge and collective titles become inevitable, some being the natural consequence of the other.
“So, I’m very proud with this fact that has been widely replicated in recent days: Champion in England, Spain and Italy; Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy; Super Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy;
best player in England, Spain and Italy; best scorer in England, Spain and Italy; Over 100 goals for a club in England, Spain and Italy.
“Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that I’ve left my mark in the countries where I’ve played, and that I gave joy to the fans of the clubs I represented.
“This is what I work for, this is what moves me and this is what I’ll always keep chasing for until the last day.
“Thanks to everyone who took part in this journey! We stand together!”