Cristiano Ronaldo: What shirt number will CR7 wear at Man Utd this season?

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Cristiano Ronaldo is once again set to pull on the famous red jersey of Manchester United.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner departed Old Trafford for Real Madrid in 2009, having won three Premier League titles and one Champions League crown during his six-year stint with the Red Devils.

After playing such a key role in one of the most successful periods in club history, United fans rightly see Ronaldo as a legend - and are ecstatic that he is now back in the fold. 

One thing, that will definitely be different this time around, though, is the Portuguese superstar's squad number - at least for this season. 

Ronaldo wore the club's famed number 7 jersey in his first spell at United. However, that option is not open to the 36-year-old  - even if the current owner of the shirt, Edinson Cavani, was prepared to hand it over. 

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

As much as it would be peak nostalgia to see Ronaldo running out baring his former squad number, Premier League regulations simply won't allow it. 

As explained by ESPN's Dale Johnson in a tweet on Friday, the rules governing squad numbers in the English top-flight are very clear.

"Premier League rule M.5 clearly states that Edinson Cavani must keep the No. 7 shirt for the whole season.

Read more: Premier League 2021/22: Fixtures, Results, Odds, Ball, Tickets And Everything You Need To Know

"If Cristiano Ronaldo wants the No. 7 shirt, Cavani must leave. Or United must get special dispensation from the PL board, which has never before been granted."

While the Premier League theoretically could make an exception to allow Ronaldo to regain his former squad number, we can't see it. Nor are United likely to part with Cavani before the current transfer window shuts.

The ultimate Cristiano Ronaldo quiz. Test your knowledge of CR7 here...

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The upshot of all this, then, is that Ronaldo needs a new squad number before United play host to Newcastle in two weeks' time.

What squad number will Cristiano Ronaldo wear at Manchester United for the 2021/22 season?

With the number 7 out of bounds for the time being, attention turns to exactly what available squad number Ronaldo will plump for this term. 

Prior to joining United, Ronaldo wore the number 28 shirt for Sporting Lisbon, leading some fans to suggest this as an alternative. It currently stands as the only one of his former squad numbers open at Old Trafford for this season.

In fact, 28 was the number that the player himself asked for when he first came to United, before Sir Alex Ferguson insisted on a different path.

"When I arrived at United, I asked for 28 but the coach said, 'No, you will wear 7,'" said Ronaldo per The Mirror

“I was petrified as I knew Beckham wore that shirt. But I took on the challenge and since then it has been my lucky number. I have won everything in football with the shirt."

Although that shirt is now taken, the number 77 is very much available - and could be an acceptable compromise given that Ronaldo is returning to United for the second time.

Of course, this is only an issue until the end of the season, with the 13-time Premier League champions free to reassign squad numbers before the next campaign. It would be no surprise to see Ronaldo reunited with his iconic shirt as soon as administrators allow it. 

Manchester United sign Ronaldo! (Via The Football Terrace)

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