Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational return to Manchester United was officially confirmed on Friday, but the Portuguese star will be met with a problem upon his arrival.
Ronaldo’s iconic No.7 shirt is not available, with forward Edinson Cavani currently occupying the number.
Premier League regulations mean it is highly unlikely that Ronaldo will be able to take over the shirt from Cavani for league games.
The rules reportedly state that players must retain the same number they are registered under, unless they depart the club or are granted ‘special dispensation’.
It is worth pointing out that ‘special dispensation’ has never been granted previously.
The good news for Ronaldo is that the Champions League squad lists as well as numbers have not yet been put forward, meaning the 36-year-old could wear the shirt in Europe’s premier club competition.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Portuguese star has not worn the No.7 shirt though.
When Ronaldo arrived at Real Madrid in 2009 for a then-world record fee of £80million, the No.7 shirt was unavailable.
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Ronaldo subsequently wore No.9 during his debut season with Los Blancos, until legend Raul departed the club a season later.
Neither would it be the first time that a Premier League player has worn two different numbers in a season.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan wore No.7 in the Premier League for Arsenal and No.77 in the Europa League.
The same situation has happened at Old Trafford before too when former United defender Wes Brown occupied No.24 in the league during the 1998-99 season and No.30 in the Champions League.
Ronaldo could, of course, opt for the same number for both competitions – like he did at Real Madrid.
One option for the forward is the No.28 shirt, which he started out with at Sporting CP.
19-year-old Facundo Pellistri is the current occupier of the number, but the Uruguyuan youngster has been sent out on loan to Alaves on a season-long loan.
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