he will need to do it on a regular basis if he is to inherit it.
At Manchester United, the number seven shirt is one of the most iconic jerseys in world football.
But it has had a checkered history when it comes to the players who have worn it.
For some, fans will have fond memories of George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
But with the jersey comes immense pressure and players such as Angel di Maria and Michael Owen failed to live up to expectations.
The pressure of the shirt is so much that Antonio Valencia requested his old number back after just one season as Man United’s No. 7.
Ronaldo is wearing the iconic jersey for the second time but it may be short-lived.
The Portugal international’s contract is due to expire at the end of the 2022/23 season and given that there are no plans to trigger a contract extension, he is highly likely to leave Old Trafford.
But it is reported that he could leave earlier, in the January transfer window.
With that being the case, United will reshuffle squad numbers before the start of the 2023/24 season, meaning one player will take over the number seven shirt.
Manchester United will want their next occupant of the No. 7 shirt to be in a similar mould as Ronaldo.
Someone who is super talented and has the confidence to ensure they are a success.
We look at the players who could inherit the No. 7 jersey after Cristiano Ronaldo.
One of the frontrunners for the iconic jersey is Jadon Sancho.
The former Manchester City youth player signed for United from Borussia Dortmund during the 2021 summer transfer window.
The 22-year-old thought he would get the number seven shirt when he joined, only for Edinson Cavani to give it to Ronaldo instead.
Sancho experienced a rough start in his Manchester United career, struggling for consistency under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Under Erik ten Hag, fans are starting to see the Sancho that turned defenders inside out whilst playing for Dortmund.
Sancho certainly has the trickery and talent to be deserving of the number seven shirt but he will need to do it on a regular basis if he is to inherit it.
By the time Ronaldo is expected to leave, Sancho will be entering his third season at the club and he should be well accustomed to his surroundings by that stage, something that might ease the pressure on him to deliver immediately, as others have done in the past.
Given that he wore number seven for Dortmund, Sancho seems the likeliest next occupant of the famous shirt.
Like Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford struggled for form last season.
The England forward scored just five goals for the club across all competitions and looked like a shadow of his usual self as Manchester United finished sixth in the Premier League table.
But Rashford seems to have rediscovered his form under Erik ten Hag.
He currently wears the number 10 shirt, having been given the number following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2018.
But the number seven would be an even bigger honour for Rashford due to the fact that it has been sported by legends such as Ronaldo, George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham over the years.
Another candidate is Brazilian winger Antony.
Man United signed the winger from Ajax in a big-money move during the summer of 2022. He was subsequently given the No. 21 shirt.
Fans got a glimpse of his capabilities when he scored on his debut against Arsenal.
This proved that he has the ability to deliver on the biggest stage but Antony will have to do a lot more if he is to live up to his £86 million price tag.
Antony has a similar level of self-belief and skills as many of the club’s famous former No. 7s and he does not appear to be the type of player who would be detrimentally affected by the pressure that comes with the shirt number.
The real test for Antony is to have a full season of success under his belt in order to justify the number switch.
And if he were to be given the famous jersey, it may motivate Antony even further, especially when you consider his potential.
Although a surprise pick, Alejandro Garnacho is possibly Manchester United’s hottest prospect.
At the end of last season, he propelled them to FA Youth Cup glory, scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest.
Garnacho has such potential that it is possible that he is called up by Argentina for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
Manchester United believe he can go on to become one of the world’s best players.
Giving him the No. 7 shirt would be a huge statement, one that shows that the club is fully behind the 18-year-old as he looks to become a modern-day great like fellow Argentine Lionel Messi.
A New Signing
Every transfer window sees Manchester United linked to several players so perhaps a new signing could be the one to take the No. 7 shirt.
As the manager looks to bolster his attacking options, one name that comes to mind is Cody Gakpo.
The Dutch winger has impressed for PSV this season and looked set to sign for United in the summer, however, a deal failed to materialise.
But the Red Devils have been handed a boost as it is reported that PSV are suffering from financial difficulties, meaning the club may have to sell Gakpo.
With such huge potential, Gakpo may be the final piece for an all-new Man United attack post-Ronaldo.
Another possibility is Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos, who has had an excellent start to the season.
Able to play across the entire forward line, he is a versatile player who could replace Ronaldo.
With several Portuguese players at United, it might be an easy transition for Ramos should he sign for the club.
The number seven shirt undoubtedly is Manchester United’s most famous jersey and these are some of the frontrunners and surprise choices who could wear the shirt after Cristiano Ronaldo.
Of course, there are far more important factors than a squad number, like winning trophies.
But for the player who goes on to wear the shirt, it may motivate them to take their game up a level and eventually transform them into a club legend.