In soccer, the most iconic shirt is arguably the number 10. For Manchester United, however, the No. 7 jersey is almost as emblematic or even more. From George Best to Cristiano Ronaldo, only a handful of superstars lived up to expectations with the No. 7 on their back.
George Best (1963-1974)
The Fifth Beatle was one of the most popular personalities in the soccer world during the 1960s and 1970s. An outstanding player on the field and a controversial figure off it, George Best has sparked the iconic side of wearing Manchester United’s number 7 jersey. The Northern Ireland star was distinguished with the Ballon d’Or in 1968, when he also lifted the European Cup trophy. During his time at Old Trafford, Best also won two league titles.
Bryan Robson (1981-1994)
One of the most beloved players in the Red Devils history, Bryan Robson played a key role under Sir Alex Ferguson, who arrived at Manchester United in 1986. Nicknamed ‘Captain Marvel’, it seemed like there was nothing Robson couldn’t do. The midfielder amassed more than 460 appearances and was just one goal shy of the 100. He helped United winning two league championships and three FA Cups, becoming their first English captain to lift the trophy.
Eric Cantona (1992-1997)
Manchester United’s number 7 was once again at the hands of a fantastic, ruthless forward who had also a controversial behavior off – or even on the field, like in the infamous episode when he threw a karate kick to a fan during a game. Eric Cantona, however, was one of the greatest to ever play for the Red Devils. The Frenchman scored an impressive 82 goals in 185 games, winning four Premier Leagues and two FA Cup titles.
David Beckham (1995-2003)
An academy product, David Beckham made his way to the Manchester United history books in golden years for the Red Devils. He went on to become even more famous due to his celebrity status, but he has certainly left an indelible mark with the No. 7 on his back. Beckham collected twelve titles during his spell at his boyhood club, including the unforgettable 1999 UEFA Champions League triumph in the dramatic final against Bayern Munich.
Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009)
What can we say about Cristiano Ronaldo that hasn’t already been said before? The Portuguese megastar joined the Red Devils as an 18-year-old youngster and left as a club legend only six years later. Ronaldo took the No. 7 right away and hasn’t failed to deliver.
The ‘cursed’ Man United No. 7 post-Ronaldo
As we’ve mentioned before, for many years, Manchester United’s number 7 jersey hasn’t found a right heir after Cristiano Ronaldo. It took more than 10 years to find a decent successor, as Cavani proved to be up to the task.
Shortly after Ronaldo left, Michael Owen took his shirt but hasn’t lived up to expectations as he was hampered by injuries. When Owen left in 2012, Antonio Valencia inherited the No. 7, but he never felt comfortable with it and went back to the 25 only a season later.
Angel Di Maria, who arrived at United in 2014 following a breathtaking performance in the previous season’s UCL final, took the number 7 but his stint at Old Trafford lasted just one year. Neither he nor the fans have pleasant memories about it.
The jersey then was passed to Memphis Depay, who was a youngster by then and has also struggled. Eventually, he was sold in early 2017 to Olympique Lyon. Things kept on going in the wrong direction as not even Alexis Sanchez could shine with the No. 7. The Chilean star was in his prime at Arsenal but he never found his form with Manchester United.
In 2020, Edinson Cavani signed for the Red Devils as a free agent after running out of contract at PSG. He didn’t hesitate to take the ‘cursed’ number 7 and became the first player in a while to do a good job, scoring 17 goals in 39 games in his first year.We are social! follow us on: