03/09/2021; 11:48 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
When Cristiano Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009, he had trademarked the CR7, but he had a tiny issue. A football icon and a Los Blancos legend in Raul Gonzalez Blanco had the No. 7 jersey. He couldn’t wrest the jersey off Raul just as Ronaldo de Lima before him couldn’t take the No. 9 jersey off Fernando Morientes. On both occasions, de Lima settled for No. 11, while Cristiano settled for No. 9.
There are big players, and then there are ‘bigger’ players. Cavani cannot be shoved aside as a football nonentity.
He’s been there and done that, but he is still some notches below the game’s true greats.
Cristiano is a football god, and like at Juventus when Cuadrado handed over the No. 7 shirt, Cavani is about to do the same.
CR7 is a brand, and at the twilight of his career, it might seem unthinkable to see the football great adorn another shirt number. That was the spot where Manchester United found themselves after signing Ronaldo from Juventus.
The shirt is currently occupied by another football great. It would have been straightforward if it were a lesser mortal.
At Juventus, the debate didn’t rage for long as Cuadrado, who wore the shirt before Ronaldo arrived, voluntarily offered the shirt to Ronaldo. The concerns have, however, proved unfounded. Edison Cavani, much like Cuadrado, has decided to hand the shirt to Ronaldo. Cavani now takes up the No. 21 shirt left behind by Daniel James. He also wears the No. 21 shirt with the Uruguay national team. The club confirmed this officially in a statement on their social media handles.
When Anthony Martial arrived at Manchester United, he was handed the No. 9 shirt just like he wore at Monaco. That season, Martial recorded 17 goals in all competitions and 12 assists.
The arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another iconic figure, saw him give up the No. 9 shirt. Martial sulked and saw his form dip. Lukaku arrived at Manchester United and also picked up the No. 9 shirt. Martial had to wait till the departure of Romelu Lukaku to dorn the shirt once again.
How is it possible for jersey numbers to be swapped with the season already underway? How is Ronaldo able to nick the shirt off Cavani?
Well, there’s a loophole in the Premier League rules that makes for this allowance.
According to the rule, a player cannot switch shirt numbers during the season. The Uruguayan is, however, yet to star in any game this campaign.
Ronaldo joined Manchester United from Juventus for €15 million in a transfer fee plus €8 million in potential add-ons.
With Ronaldo now in the mix, Cavani’s future at the club is also now in doubt, as reported yesterday that he could leave the club next summer.