Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled as a Real Madrid player 10 years ago today and things haven’t gone well at all for the Manchester United number 7s that have worn the shirt since.
When Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United the Red Devils were always going to have trouble replacing the man who’d already become one of the best players in the world.
One decade later and the proof that they have struggled comes in the shape of the five men who have tried and failed to fill the famous number 7 shirt he left behind.
Since Ronaldo left Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia, Angel di Maria, Memphis Depay and Alexis Sanchez have all worn the shirt but they’ve scored just 15 Premier League goals between them.
Owen signed for free the summer that Ronaldo left and stayed at Old Trafford for three seasons, scoring just five goals in the league and another 12 in all competitions.
The striker was then replaced in the shirt by Antonio Valencia. The Ecuadorian had won the number 25 before the 2012/13 season and lasted just one year with the illustrious number.
He scored one goal in all competitions, which was in the league, before returning to his old shirt because he ‘had good times and good fortune in that shirt.‘
No one wore seven for the 2013/14 season, David Moyes’ only season in charge, before Angel di Maria arrived from Real Madrid to wear it.
The Argentina forward scored twice in his first four games and a third at the beginning of October but then failed to net again in the league all season before moving on to PSG just a year after arriving.
Next came Memphis Depay, who opened himself to more pressure than he was already under as the ‘next Cristiano Ronaldo,’ as described by some at the time, by asking for Ronaldo’s old number.
The Dutchman lasted a season and a half under Louis van Gaal and latterly Jose Mourinho, scoring twice in the league and seven in all, with all his goals coming in the first season.
Memphis could only show glimpses of what he was capable of. Image: PA Images
Last, and by many means least, has been Alexis Sanchez. The former Arsenal man came with a lot of expectation and has lived up to none of them.
The Chilean has scored three in the Premier League, bagging just two more away from the league, and could be sold this summer.
In comparison Ronaldo scored 84 times in the league at United in 196 appearances, including his record breaking 31 goals in 2007/08.
The 34 year old has gone on to become Real Madrid’s top scorer of all time and won four Ballon d’Ors whilst the team he left behind still can’t replace him.