Man Utd shirt numbers Cristiano Ronaldo could wear as star set to seal Old Trafford return

Cristiano Ronaldo in profile

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Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to make a sensational return to Manchester United ahead of next week’s transfer deadline after Manchester City pulled out of the race for his signature. The mercurial 36-year-old was expected to seal a shock move to the Etihad Stadium until earlier on Friday, when United emerged as the new favourites to secure his signature in a remarkable turn of events.

City had been exploring the possibility of landing Ronaldo after Pep Guardiola’s priority target, Harry Kane, committed his immediate future to Tottenham earlier this week.

Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, had offered the services of his client to the defending Premier League champions, but a transfer fee and personal terms were still to be agreed.

City went on to exit the race for Ronaldo on Friday afternoon before United swooped in with the intention of sealing a romantic return to Old Trafford.

Talks are understood to be at an advanced stage, with reports suggesting that a medical has already been planned.

Express Sport takes a look at the shirt numbers Ronaldo could pick from if United are successful in pushing through the move over the coming days.

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12

Ronaldo has famously worn No 7 and No 9 throughout his career, but those shirts are currently occupied by Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial at United.

The five-time Ballon D’Or winner will be forced to settle for a different number as a result, with No 12 the lowest available option.

It was previously occupied by Chris Smalling before his move to Roma in the summer of 2019, while the Neville brothers and Paul Scholes have also donned the shirt in previous years.

There was speculation that Raphael Varane would choose No 12 upon his arrival from Real Madrid earlier this month, but the Frenchman ultimately opted for No 19 instead.

28

Ronaldo could also decide to make a sentimental return to the No 28 shirt in the absence of his preferred options of No 7 and No 9.

The Portuguese forward wore the number as a teenager during his time at Sporting.

He scored five goals and created another six from 31 appearances for the club, earning his move to United in 2003 as a result of his good work.

However, it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will be tempted by a blast from the past with the No 28 shirt upon his return to Old Trafford.

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30

The No 30 is also available, with goalkeeper Nathan Bishop sporting the shirt prior to joining League Two side Mansfield Town on loan.

It has never been worn by Ronaldo, but he could decide to emulate his old rival and fellow all-time great Lionel Messi in choosing the number.

The latter decided to sport the No 30 upon joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last month, with the 34-year-old returning to the digits worn during his early days at Barcelona.

The shirt has no special significance for Ronaldo, but it could be an option with the vast majority of squad numbers already occupied at United.

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