With the sale of Alexis Sanchez to Inter, Man Utd’s cursed No.7 shirt has worked its terrible voodoo once more. The curse is well-documented. The seven shirt has been worn by some of United’s greatest players (George Best, Nobby Stiles, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham) and in 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson forced it upon a reluctant Cristiano Ronaldo (Ron didn’t want it – he asked for No.28, his number at Sporting Lisbon – and he changed to the No.9 at Real Madrid as soon as he could, i.e. when club legend Raul left). We all know how well Cristiano fared, but take a look at the players who have worn No.7 for United since he jetted off to Madrid in 2009:
Michael Owen (2009-12) – Talk about going from the sublime to the ordinary.
Antonio Valencia (2012-13) – Valencia struggled that season and went back to the No.25 shirt. He knew what was up.
Angel di Maria (2014-15) – Showed promise at first but pretty soon he and his wife made it clear they didn’t want to be in the “shithole” that is Manchester.
Memphis Depay (2015-17) – A total bust.
Alexis Sanchez (2017-20) – One of the most expensive subs in football history.
The list speaks for itself. The shirt is cursed! As of last season, if I remember correctly, Ronaldo had scored something like 330 league goals since he left United, compared with less than 20 scored by all of United’s No.7s combined. Combined! As I said, this is voodoo. That, or United’s scouting radar was damaged by the turbulence of Ronaldo’s hurricane-like departure.
This poses a tricky problem for United if they sign Jadon Sancho, as seems likely. Does Sancho get the seven? Dare United risk ruining the career of a £100m+ player on the back of a single number? We’ll see…