Edinson Cavani’s squad number and why he gave up No.7 for Cristiano Ronaldo at Man United


Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani was praised by many for allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to take up the number seven jersey upon his arrival last summer.

The Uruguayan has had a tough season riddled with injuries, but was an important part in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team last term. His 17 goals from him helped United to a second-place Premier League finish and the Europa League final — all while donning the famous number seven jersey. The shirt has been worn by many United greats over the years including George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.

While Cavani may not be at the meteoric heights of the aforementioned club legends, his contributions to the team means he certainly hasn’t done a disservice to the number despite recent injury travails.

READ MORE: Edinson Cavani is yet another Manchester United example of poor transfer planning

Nevertheless, Cavani had to make way when a United hero returned to Old Trafford in August. As seen with Lionel’s Messi move to PSG, footballers do not always get the number they are most famous with.

Fans are accustomed to seeing the Argentine wear the No.10. However, with Neymar holding the number, Messi had to choose another number — 30 in a reference to the shirt he was given when first breaking into the Barcelona first-team squad.

But upon Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming last summer, negotiations over the acquisition of the No.7 started almost immediately. Cavani began the 2021/22 season with the number but would ultimately agree to change kit number.

Why did Cavani give up the No.7 jersey to Ronaldo?

Under Premier League rules, once a player has been allocated a number for the season, it cannot be changed. However, league officials sanctioned a special dispensation to allow Cavani to change jerseys and hand Ronaldo his iconic number from him.

Ronaldo himself was surprised that he managed to get his hands back on the shirt, saying: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Edi for this incredible gesture.” A squad number maybe is not as important to anyone as No.7 is to Ronaldo.

His career brand is founded on his ‘CR7’ identity and having to wear another number would have, at least in the short term, put a stop to that — possibly costing him and his commercial team a lot of money. He has worn the number seven at every team he has played for, barring boyhood club Sporting Lisbon where he was given the number 28.

The 37-year-old also briefly wore the number nine at Real Madrid in his debut season, but took up the number seven again the following campaign when club icon Raul vacated it upon his move to Schalke. Cavani — whose go-to number was also No.7 early in his career — was praised for his ‘sacrifice’ of the United number seven jersey in the spirit of team cohesion.

What is Cavani’s current squad number?

Cavani now wears the No.21 shirt, the number which he has sported for the majority of his international career. It’s the first time he has worn it at club level, taking it off Dan James who switched to Leeds United before the transfer window shut.



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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