Man United’s No 7s: Why Alexis has massive shoes to fill at Old Trafford

Manchester United fans are buzzing this week after the club announced the signing of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.

After the jilted Henrikh Mkhitaryan decided to move the other way, Sanchez became one of the world’s best-paid players, landing a tidy £400,000 a week at United. Wow.

And Sanchez has decided to take the No 7 shirt, a number that’s been worn by some of the club’s best ever players: but who is the greatest?

David Beckham

What a player. What a man. Pretty much everyone (even some Man City fans) like ‘Becks’. Beckham was one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s true superstars, whose wicked right boot delivered devastating crosses from the right wing at Old Trafford. Backed up by the flying Gary Neville, Beckham notched up six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League. He also famously won the FA Youth Cup with a couple of other famous faces in 1992.

Cristiano Ronaldo

We all know this guy. Ronaldo made himself into a football A-lister while wearing the No 7 shirt at United. Under Ferguson, the lanky teenager who loved a stepover and a dive became one of the best players to ever walk the planet. Three Premier League titles, a Champions League winners medal and an FA Cup later, Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for a world record fee in 2009. He’s done quite well since, too.

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Eric Cantona

Being No 7 at United doesn’t just demand that you’re a brilliant player, it also requires a personality; a charisma, of sorts. Nicknamed the King, Cantona was unstoppable when wearing the red No 7 shirt. Cantona’s most iconic moment in a United shirt though came when he took it upon himself to kung-fu kick a Crystal Palace fan who was giving him shit from the stands. The Frenchman loved poetry, spouting nonsense to assembled journalists and scoring incredibly good goals. A sensational player. A sensational bloke.

Bryan Robson

He may not have possessed the flair and panache of Cantona and Ronaldo, but Robson is a bona fide legend at Old Trafford. One of the club’s great captains, Robson played 461 times for United, winning two titles and three FA Cup winners medals.

George Best

Let’s be honest, George Best is the best player ever to wear the Manchester United No 7 shirt. Ronaldo (absurdly brilliant as he was) saw better days at Real Madrid, Beckham never reached the standard Best was able to play at and Cantona cost himself the top spot on this list because he booted a fan. Best was a once-in-a-lifetime player, who managed to play some of the finest football you’ll ever see on filthy pitches against even filthier players. Best won two First Division titles and, famously, the European Cup in 1968.

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