Man Utd already have a player who wants Ronaldo’s No 7 shirt

Erik ten Hag to 'deal with' Ronaldo early exit down tunnel

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Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo’s alliance could soon be over. While Erik ten Hag has publicly insisted he wants to keep the 37-year-old, he’s believed to be open to a sale behind the scenes at Old Trafford. And, in Jadon Sancho, the Red Devils already have one player who wants his famous No 7 shirt…

It wasn’t meant to be like this.

When Ronaldo returned to United last summer, after 12 years away at the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, many thought he’d be the ticket to Premier League title glory.

He has built on his legacy with 26 goals across all competitions in the time since, with 24 of them coming under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last term.

But, with each passing game, it’s becoming increasingly clear Ronaldo is yesterday’s man.

A departure in January could take place, with Ten Hag long being prepared to part ways with the fading 37-year-old.

His stance is likely to have hardened in the wake of Ronaldo’s strop against Tottenham on Wednesday, when he refused to come on despite the wishes of his manager.

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And though Ten Hag has publicly insisted he can count on the forward between now and the end of the season, a departure in the New Year is looking increasingly likely.

Should Ronaldo go, the famous No 7 shirt will become vacant.

It is a jersey that means more to United fans than any other, having been worn by club icons such as Ronaldo, David Beckham, George Best and Eric Cantona over the years.

United even filmed a video with Ronaldo, Beckham and Cantona back in the summer with the trio talking about how much it means to them.

That footage was shelved, however, at a time where the jersey’s current occupant was looking to leave the club to pursue a new challenge elsewhere.

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If a departure does take place, then it will pave the way for Sancho to get the digit he craves the most.

In 2020, when United were pursuing the England international, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promised Sancho he could inherit the number following the departure of Alexis Sanchez.

A move failed to materialise, though, with Sancho forced to stay at Borussia Dortmund for another 12 months.

By the time he joined United last summer, the No 7 was being worn by Edinson Cavani – who refused to give it up.

Yet the Uruguay international made an exception for Ronaldo, allowing his experienced team-mate to take on the jersey he’d worn during his first stint at the club.

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With Cavani now gone, and Ronaldo likely to follow in the coming months, Sancho will be hoping to get his dream shirt number.

And it could even proved to be the ticket to getting the 22-year-old back to his Dortmund best

Sancho started the season well, scoring in victories over the likes of Liverpool and Leicester.

But he’s regressed in recent times and appears to have lost his spark, which doesn’t bode well for the future as things stand.

Meanwhile, regarding Ronaldo, former Arsenal and Chelsea star Emmanuel Petit has slammed the forward and insisted he’s ‘tiring everyone’.

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“He tires everyone: the supporters, his teammates. They don’t want him anymore in the locker room, he pollutes everyone so much,” he said.

“He has an exceptional career, when he stops we will all be unanimous in saying it, but his behaviour is so individualistic.

“His message yesterday on social media. You know you don’t like what’s going on with your club, you can’t stand your coach Ten Hag anymore, you feel like you are disrespected for what you have done, but your status no longer exists!

“You are no longer the same player, you have been demoted, you have suffered a downgrade, but you do not accept it because your ego is so oversized.

“Say it real! It can’t be defensible.”

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