From the Museum Vaults - Iconic no. 7s

To celebrate Edinson Cavani’s birthday, we would like to share a selection of memorabilia relating to our most iconic no. 7s of the past.

We hope that Edinson will have his career exhibited in our permanent displays in the future as he follows in the footsteps of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

GEORGE BEST

Despite his frail physique as a schoolboy, the footballing idol from Belfast went down in history as a man who made our no. 7 shirt iconic. Blessed with an abundance of natural talent, George made playing football look so easy. His remarkable speed, balance and dribbling skills were admired by both home and opposition fans.

A confident and charismatic player, George set records for both club and country. Called up for his Northern Ireland debut after only 15 League appearances, his three goals inside 12 minutes in a 5-0 defeat of Cyprus on 21 April 1971, remain the quickest hat-trick ever scored for the side. This cap was awarded to George a season after he was voted the European Footballer of the Year. To those of you lucky enough to watch him play in his heyday, we say we envy you!

 
George Best’s Northern Ireland cap awarded during the 1968/69 season.
BRYAN ROBSON

With an endless supply of stamina and excellent creative passing skills, Robbo became one of the greatest midfield players the British game has ever had. His name on the teamsheet gave United fans reassurance, while his inspirational presence on the pitch motivated his colleagues. A true leader, Robson became our skipper soon after joining the club and captained the team to a hat-trick of FA Cup wins in 1983, 1985 and 1990. He wore this shirt in his second FA Cup victory with United when a single goal from Norman Whiteside against Everton, in the second half of extra-time, secured our sixth win in the competition.

The shirt worn by Bryan Robson in the 1985 FA Cup final (Image courtesy of Bryan Robson).
ERIC CANTONA

With seven different moves in a space of seven years, was a surprise signing from Leeds United, but he became an instant hit with the Old Trafford faithful. With his self-confidence as legendary as his upturned collar, he became a catalyst for Sir Alex Ferguson’s developing team. A charismatic leader, he inspired United to a Premier League title victory in four out of his five seasons with the club. In the other, he was missing for a critical period due to a lengthy suspension.

Looking for Eric in the 1990s was a surprisingly easy task due to this popular mask. With his fiery temperament and philosophical soul, he quickly became a cult hero, a status arguably unmatched by any player before or since. After nearly 30 years since his United debut, we still worship Cantona!

A Cantona face-mask was a must-have for every United fan in the 1990s.

DAVID BECKHAM

One of the most famous footballers of all time and one of the world’s biggest celebrities, David Beckham’s moment that properly introduced him to the wider population came in 1996. A remarkable goal scored from the halfway line against Wimbledon proclaimed his individual brilliance to the world. With his trademark crossing and precise dead-ball kicks, he contributed to many trophy-winning campaigns, including the unprecedented Treble, when he was Man of the Match in the final against Bayern Munich. With new Predators recently launched by adidas, let’s reminiscence and take a look at this classic pair of Beckham boots.

Adidas Predator boots worn by David Beckham during the 1990s.

CRISTIANO RONALDO

Following Ronaldo’s debut at the start of the 2003/04 campaign, many of us wondered what this raw youngster with highlighted hair and an indefinite number of step-overs was all about. Well, we all know now...the teenager soon developed into a football sensation, admired for his trademark free-kicks and staple mazy runs. United’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons, he netted an astonishing 42 goals in the 2007/08 Premier League and Champions League-winning campaign. In hindsight, it’s difficult to believe he didn't score his first goal sooner than his 10th appearance as he has become the leading marksman in the game.

Shirt worn by Ronaldo in his first and only FA Cup victory with United in 2004.
The Official Manchester United Museum at Old Trafford is current closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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