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The greatest number 7 of Manchester United!

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2.23K   //    11 Jul 2011, 12:26 IST


I'm the greatest!

The No. 7 shirt of Manchester United carries one of the richest traditions a single number could carry.

From big names to even bigger talents, the No.7 shirt has become very dear to the United fans.

While there is no official criteria for wearing the shirt, it is pretty obvious what is needed to do the number justice, the wearer must have buckets of talent and a captivating personality, both on and off the field.

I have decided to rank from “least to greatest” the players who have boasted the legendary number seven kit. [The list is made based on their services to Manchester United, not necessarily the best talent.]

Michael Owen

Michael Owen: To be honest Manchester United fans would not prefer someone from the Liverpool

ranks to come and don the no. 7 shirt. But such was his potential that Sir Alex was left with no option but to hand over the legendary kit to this man, hoping to get the magic from him which he used to execute for the Anfield side.With limited game opportunities and injuries he has failed to make an impact and win over the fans, so he remains as the least of the greatest players to don the number 7.

Bryan Robson: Robson moved to United for a British record transfer fee of £1.5 million on 1 October

Bryan Robson

1981. He was the longest serving captain in United history. His career at United was laden with trophies, but unfortunately he remains as the most unpopular of heroes for the Devils. His contribution to the side was not in doubt but was over shadowed due to the other greats who were playing alongside him,notably Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona(after whose introduction he lost the number 7 shirt). Robson’s 13-year spell at Manchester United came to an end after nearly 500 appearances and 99 goals and could only manage the second lowest place in the list.

Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portuguese winger forward could never ever had imagined that Sir Alex

Cristiano Ronaldo

would hand him over the 7. Ronaldo famously had said, “After I joined, the manager asked me what number I’d like. I said 28. But Ferguson said ‘No, you’re going to have No. 7,’ and the famous shirt was an extra source of motivation. I was forced to live up to such an honour.” In his early days he looked like an ordinary player but after the year 2006 he did justice to the kit and went on to become PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or, and finally the FIFA World player of the year. Ronaldo became the most expensive player in football history after moving from Manchester United to Real Madrid in a transfer deal worth £80 million. Somehow due to his transfer a few fans were outraged and henceforth finds the 3rd best spot.

David Beckham: Beckham’s career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester

David Beckham

United, making his first-team debut in 1992, aged 17. During his time there, United won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. His crossing ability from the flanks were outstanding. His free-kick technique using swerve and accuracy earned him the tag,”Bend it like Beckham.” He became the most popular footballer on the planet during his time at United. His activities off the field drove media attention most of the time and took the number 7 to quite another level. His contribution to the team is in no doubt, and just edges past Ronaldo. All in all he managed to play 265 matches for the team and score 62 times in his stay at the club before moving to Real Madrid. In the 1998–99 season, he was part of the United team that won The Treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, a unique feat in English football.

Eric Cantona: Cantona is often regarded as having played a key role in the revival of Manchester

Eric the King

United as a footballing force and he enjoys iconic status at the club. Cantona is affectionately nicknamed by Manchester United fans “King Eric”, and was voted as Manchester United’s greatest ever player by Inside United magazine.In Cantona’s first season at Old Trafford, United won the inaugural Premier League by 10 points – winning the title for the first time since 1967. He was also voted PFA Player of the Year for that season. However his disciplinary records are pretty poor. In the  season of 1994-95 United looked to win a third successive league title, but on 25 January 1995 he was involved in an incident which attracted headlines and controversy worldwide. In an away match against Crystal Palace, Cantona was sent off by the referee for a kick on Palace defender Richard Shaw after he had pulled his shirt. As he was walking towards the tunnel, Cantona launched a ‘kung-fu’ style kick into the crowd, directed at Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons, followed by a series of punches. Such unfriendly activities could not make him the best of the best and is made to follow the all time legend George Best in this list. With 144 appearances and 64 goals he is regarded as a Manchester United legend.

Geroge Best: Another Manchester United legend whose contribution to the team cannot be

George Best

questioned. He was a revelation to the Reds and played a key role in their revival to top flight of football. He was a winger whose game combined pace, acceleration, balance, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to beat defenders. He won the European Cup with Manchester United, and was named the European Footballer of the Year. Pelé named him as one of the 125 best living footballers in his 2004 FIFA 100 list and Best was named 19th, behind Gerd Müller, at the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. In his native Northern Ireland, the admiration for him is summed up by the local saying: “Maradona good; Pelé better; George Best.”He was one of the first celebrity footballers, but due to his extravagant lifestyle led to problems with alcoholism which curtailed his playing career and eventually led to his death. In 361 appearances he managed to put the ball at the back of the net at a staggering 137 times which is quite incredible for a winger.

Who will be the next in the list??  Who should have been given the kit?? Should have Ryan Giggs got the shirt?? Should have Scholes got the shirt?? Such questions will always arise…..but its upto us the Manchester United fans to keep the legendary shirt 7 alive!!

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