It took Manchester United 11 years to finally find a worthy successor to Cristiano Ronaldo to wear the number 7 shirt.

In 2020 Edinson Cavani took it on and succeeded where a series of pretenders failed.

Cavani ended the season with 17 goals and had managed to captivate supporters with his performances in a special way.

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It had long been assumed Jadon Sancho would take the 7 shirt when he arrived. But he took deference to the more senior Cavani, who had earned the right to keep it.

And then back came Ronaldo. The Portuguese legend wore the 7 shirt before Ronaldo and is a five times Ballon d’Or winner.

His whole off field brand is built around his CR7 iconography.

United announced last night Cavani has agreed to give up the number 7 shirt to Ronaldo. He will wear the now vacant number 21.

Respect for Cavani

Cavani did not have to give up his shirt. He is a senior player who has earned the right to wear the number.


Phil Jones did not give up the number 4 shirt for Raphael Varane, from a far, far, weaker negotiating position.

Cavani’s contract expires in a year anyway, and he could just have said to Ronaldo, wait one year.

But Cavani not like that. He pays attention to the club’s history and the players who came before him, and recognises the connection Ronaldo has with the support and the shirt.

This decision from Cavani is a great gesture, and shows he is happy to have Ronaldo alongside him at the club. It will do wonders for their relationship on the pitch.

Ronaldo famously helped an injured Cavani off the pitch at World Cup 2018, both wearing the shirt numbers they do today. This was Cavani’s thank you.


Cavani was already a fan favourite and this has only endeared the Uruguayan further to the club’s support…

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