Manchester United have three candidates to take Cristiano Ronaldo’s iconic No 7 shirt

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Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo is facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford. It’s emerged the Portugal international wants to leave the Red Devils if a ’suitable offer’ arrives, amid links to the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich. And, if he departs, it will leave the No 7 shirt vacant.

Manchester United weren’t expected to ever have Ronaldo on their books again.

But that all changed last August, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to bring the Portugal international back from Juventus after 12 years away.

Amid a horrendous season for United, Ronaldo didn’t disappoint last term – netting an impressive 24 goals across all competitions.

Yet there’s now a possibility the 37-year-old will jump ship, with the veteran eager to leave for a club playing in the Champions League next term.

Ronaldo is said to feel the Europa League is ‘beneath him’, having never played in the competition over the course of his glittering career.

Express Sport will now consequently take a look at three candidates who could take the No 7 jersey if the serial winner does indeed end up leaving for a new challenge elsewhere.

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Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford was given the No 10 shirt by United back in the summer of 2018, shortly after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure.

He was a good asset under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but toiled last term, scoring just five goals across all competitions.

However, Rashford can still be United’s future – as well as their present. He’s got the talent to become a superstar and one bad season doesn’t make him a bad player.

Giving him the No 7 shirt would be a significant statement of intent and could even hold the key to getting Rashford back to his best.

He’s certainly feeling optimistic about the future, telling club media: For me personally I have had quite a long break, a nice camp before coming back into training, and how we are starting off on the right foot.

“Like I said, everyone is looking forward to pre-season now and going out to try to put into the games what we have learned in training so far, and what we will continue to learn, not only in the pre-season but throughout the season as well.”

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Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho had been expecting to get the No 7 shirt when United snapped him up from Borussia Dortmund a year ago.

However, things didn’t go his way.

First, Edinson Cavani refused to give it up for the new recruit.

And when Ronaldo came back, the Uruguay international made an exception – preventing Sancho from getting the jersey he’d set his sights on in the process.

Sancho had a slow start to life at Old Trafford, scoring just three Premier League goals last term.

But giving him the number he craves could, like Rashford, hold the key to getting the former Manchester City academy graduate fully firing again.

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Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes wants the No 8 shirt at United, which is now free following the departure of Juan Mata.

However, the No 7 could just be too good for the Portugal international to turn down.

Fernandes had, until Ronaldo’s return, been the talisman of this team. Everything went through him, with the former Sporting Lisbon star becoming a leader even without the armband.

He is professional to the core and eager to get back to the heights he operated in for the first 18 months of his time at the club.

Fernandes has the talent to do the No 7 shirt justice and, for that reason, he’d be worth considering for the honour this summer.

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Brown’s Ronaldo verdict

Speaking recently to Express Sport, Wes Brown insisted United should keep Ronaldo due to the goals he guarantees.

“He’s a different breed,” he said.

“We need to make signings regardless but keeping Ronaldo will be a big plus, just look at the goals he got us this year.

“You can say lots of things good, or bad, but ultimately he will score you goals as well.

“Obviously Cavani has gone. Pretty much every position we need to improve on and I’m pretty sure the manager will know that, he’s been told that’s absolutely fine and the funds are there to do that.

“Ultimately it’s about whether we can get hold of these players and can we get them at the right price as well.”

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