Any rundown of the most famous No.7s in the history of Manchester United is going to include mention of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. The latter inherited his jersey from the England captain when arriving at Old Trafford for the first time in 2003 and took ownership of it again when retracing those steps last summer.
The move was intended to deliver considerable benefits to all concerned, with there seemingly few holes to be picked in any deal involving a five-time Ballon d’Or winner. There have, however, been as many questions as answers at the Theater of Dreams in 2021-22, with many of those relating to the Portuguese superstar.
Inconsistency has plagued the Red Devils throughout a campaign that will see them deliver the club’s worst Premier League finish, with football betting tips often siding against them as Champions League qualification and major silverware have once again fallen out of reach.
United are still priced at odds of +300 to finish outside of the top six this season, and to miss out on Europa League football for next term would deliver another seriously humbling reality check to the club. Inevitably, this outcome would also lead to more discussion regarding Ronaldo’s future.
30 hat-tricks before 30 and 30 hat-tricks after 30. It’s time to unbalance the scale! 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/McgGZBmzyh
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) April 17, 2022
He is accustomed to being the center of attention, with his every move having been dissected in minute detail across a remarkable career, and will be aware of the furor that he continues to generate. Until an official statement is made on his immediate intentions, the rumor mill appears set to rumble on.
As things stand, the all-time great is due to be under contract in Manchester until the summer of 2023, but that agreement could be ripped up if all parties agree to a premature parting of ways. The legendary figure would suddenly be up for grabs, if that decision were to be taken.
There has been talked for some time of Ronaldo eventually taking his considerable on-field skill set and off-pitch marketing appeal to the United States, with such a switch making plenty of sense for his brand and the growing appeal of MLS.
He has hit just about every target available in Europe and there will come a time when a fresh start and a new challenge is sought. There is every chance that an ambitious character will look to cross the Atlantic when that day arrives.
Former United and Portugal team-mate Nani has said of those rumors: “Quite a while back, he let me know that he will likely wind up in America.” One obvious landing spot, were an American Dream to be chased, would see Ronaldo pack his bags for Florida.
With Beckham calling the shots as a co-owner with Inter Miami, to see their superstar statuses combine under one roof would deliver some spectacle. One iconic former United No.7 is, however, playing cards close to his chest for now.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 10, 2022
Beckham has said of the ‘stay or go’ debate raging around United: “What is doing at his age is really incredible, so hopefully he continues for another year or two.”
There are plenty of lines to be read between there. The Red Devils legend is, despite boasting no ties to the club at present, never going to come out and say that a player of Ronaldo’s ilk should be allowed to walk away.
He is, however, leaving a carrot dangling when it comes to a future in the Sunshine State, with nothing being ruled in or out. Beckham is happy to talk Ronaldo up, as someone well aware of his many qualities, and will continue to leave a door open for them to become men united at some stage in the near future.