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mega move Cristiano Ronaldo's No.7 mystery and why shirt sales won't cover his move to Manchester United

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Cristiano Ronaldo is pictured once again in a Manchester United shirt. Photo: ManUtd.com

Cristiano Ronaldo is pictured once again in a Manchester United shirt. Photo: ManUtd.com

Cristiano Ronaldo is pictured once again in a Manchester United shirt. Photo: ManUtd.com

Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his move to Manchester United, with the debate over the shirt number he will wear in his second spell at Old Trafford set to be resolved imminently.

United confirmed they had completed the formalities of the Ronaldo deal with a statement on their website on Tuesday morning, with the 36-year-old expressing his delight to be rejoining the club he left in 2009.

He had six seasons with the Red Devils that saw him score 118 goals in 292 appearances and help them win three Premier League titles, a Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, one FA Cup and two League Cups.

Ronaldo then spent nine years with Real, during which he tasted Champions League glory a further four times and became the LaLiga outfit’s all-time top scorer, before moving to Juventus in 2018.

“Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday,” Ronaldo said.

“I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again. I’m looking forward to joining up with the team after the international games, and I hope we have a very successful season ahead.”

His Instagram message was even more emotive, ending with a message for former United manager Alex Ferguson.

"Everyone who knows me, knows about my never ending love for Manchester United," he wrote. "The years I spent in this club where absolutely amazing and the path we’ve made together is written in gold letters in the history of this great and amazing institution.

"I can’t even start to explain my feelings right now, as I see my return to Old Trafford announced worldwide. It’s like a dream come true, after all the times that I went back to play against Man. United, and even as an opponent, to have always felt such love and respect from the supporters in the stands. This is absolutely 100% the stuff that dreams are made of!

"My first domestic League, my first Cup, my first call to the Portuguese National team, my first Champions League, my first Golden Boot and my first Ballon d’Or, they were all born from this special connection between me and the Red Devils. History has been written in the past and history will be written once again! You have my word!

"I’m right here! I’m back where I belong Let’s make it happen once again!

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"PS - Sir Alex, this one is for you…"

While Premier League rules state a player who started the season wearing a shirt number cannot make a change unless he is given special permission, it appears Ronaldo may get that exemption as he looks to wear his favoured No.7 jersey at United.

Edinson Canvani wore that No.7 shirt when he played for United at Wolves on Sunday, but he may now look to switch to the No.21 shirt - the number he wears playing for Uruguay - after Daniel James made a £25million move to Leeds United and freed up that number in the United squad.

As Ronaldo's CR7 brand is built around the number he has worn throughout his career, he would be keen to continue that at United and the Premier League have already him down as United's No.7 on their website.

Meanwhile, suggestions that United will profit from sales of Ronaldo shirts following his return to the can be exposed as a long-running myth among football fans.

Adidas agreed to a deal that sees them pay United £75million-per-season for a ten-year shirt deal to produce and license club merchandise, but they collect a vast proportion of the revenue from sales or products.

So while United will get a small cut of Ronaldo shirt sales, Adidas will be the big winners when it comes to the return of one of the world's greatest players to England's Premier League.

Ronaldo is currently training with the Portugal team in Lisbon ahead of their World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday night.

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