How Cristiano Ronaldo started wearing shirt number Seven


Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers in the history of the game in terms of personal records and his impact on all the teams he has played for. But just like every other great footballer, the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon had a humble beginning.

His journey to being one of the greatest individuals to ever play football started in Sporting Lisbon, Portugal, and gain momentum when he left the Portuguese side to join Manchester United on August 12, 2003, for just €19 million.

The then coach of the Premier League club, Sir Alex Ferguson took interest in Ronaldo when the then youngster played for Sporting Lisbon against Manchester United in a Champions League match.

Young Cristiano Ronaldo taking on Manchester United before he joined the club in 2003.
Young Cristiano Ronaldo taking on Manchester United before he joined the club in 2003.

Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Manchester United when the club had just sold their then-best player, David Beckham to Real Madrid. Beckham was wearing the number seven shirt during his illustrious career at Old Trafford. When Ronaldo signed for Manchester United, Sir Ferguson felt the youngster had the potential to fill Beckham’s void.

Hence, the first challenge Cristiano Ronaldo had to face was to accept the challenge of wearing the exalted number seven shirt which Beckham, George Best, and Eric Cantona wore during their unforgettable eras at Old Trafford.

Due to the pressure, such a shirt number carries, Ronaldo initially resisted the offer and wanted to continue wearing shirt number 28 which he was wearing at Sporting Lisbon. However, retired coach Ferguson insisted that Ronaldo must wear shirt number 7.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates in Portugal's color.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates in Portugal’s color.

The Portuguese forward had no choice but to wear the shirt number and went on to win three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two league cups, one Community Shield, one UEFA Champions League, and one FIFA Club World Cup for Manchester United.

He also won for himself a series of individual honors at Old Trafford including the prestigious Ballon d’Or which was the first in his football career.

Cristiano Ronaldo left the Premier League club in 2009 to join Real Madrid and continued using the shirt number. He won three Ballon d’Or awards at the Spanish side and a series of team trophies before he left the club to join Juventus in 2018.

At Juventus, no player could take the shirt number away from him likewise in his national team. The shirt number has become a part of Cristiano Ronaldo’s football career, no wonder many call him CR7.

“At the beginning of my career in Manchester. I remember, when I signed for Manchester, I arrived at the club and I asked for number 28 because it was the number I used at Sporting,” Cristiano Ronaldo said according to Express.

“Sir Alex Ferguson said to me, No, you’re not going to wear 28, you’re going to use No 7.

“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.”


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