Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that former manager Sir Alex Ferguson quickly informed him that he was going to wear the iconic No.7 shirt after joining Manchester United for the first time back in 2003.
United, who will be going in search of a fourth successive victory when they travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, signed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner from Sporting Lisbon as a tender 18-year-old. He joined the club for £12.24million and put pen to paper on a five-year deal.
Ronaldo, who will go down in history as one of the greatest players of all-time, arrived at Old Trafford as a youngster looking to take the next step in his career. He had wowed audiences in Portugal and United were determined to win the race for his signature.
Although he arrived at the club as a youngster, Ferguson signed him with the intentions of throwing him straight into the first-team fold. And that was further highlighted when he awarded him the infamous No.7 shirt.
It is a number steeped in history at Old Trafford, being worn by some of the club’s greatest-ever players. And for Ronaldo, it was a moment that he says he is unlikely to ever forget.
“All players know, in Manchester and around the world as well, that number seven is a mythic number in this club,” Ronaldo said in a special video released by United. “In the beginning that I signed for Manchester, I was very nervous to see the full stadium.
“The passion that the fans have for football kind of surprised me a lot. Sir Alex Ferguson said to me ‘you’re going to take the number seven’.
“It was that kind of moment that you never forget. I knew the history of the number seven in the club.
“I was nervous, but in the same time I was feeling good after an experienced manager, an experienced person knew that Cristiano is the right guy to hold that shirt.”
Ronaldo, of course, returned to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021, rejoining the club from Juventus, just over 12 years after he joined Real Madrid. He reclaimed the No.7 shirt from Edinson Cavani upon his return.
Asked how it feels to wear the iconic No.7 shirt, Ronaldo added: “Emotional. Very emotional.”
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