For more than five seasons, Cristiano Ronaldo became Manchester United's flagship, alongside Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.
Between 2004 and 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United jersey was a permanent bestseller in the English club's official store, due to the strong charisma of the Portuguese player, who never left anyone indifferent.
In the following lines we will delve into the history of Ronaldo's jersey with Manchester United: his debut, his records, his mania to use long sleeves or his final farewell of the Red Devils. You can't miss it!
6 incredible facts about Ronaldo's jersey with Manchester United
"Your love makes me strong, your hatred makes me unstoppable." Of course, if there is one player in the world who awoke love and hatred in equal parts, it was Cristiano Ronaldo. But what are the stories behind the shirt of the current Juventus player from Turin? Discover them!
The debut of one of the icons of the Red Devils
It was in the 2003-04 season that coach Sir Alex Ferguson announced the signing of a promising youngster from Sporting Lisbon: his name was Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.
His debut came in August 2003 against Bolton Wanderers. Naturally, he didn't play that match as a starter, but as a substitute, coming in the 60th minute by Nicky Butt.
Ronaldo's first Manchester United jersey featured the English club's characteristic red and a variety of motifs, such as black triangles flanking the round neck, with a line of the same colour around it. The manufacturer was Nike and was advertised by Vodafone.
An unknown youth... with Beckham's number 7
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo drew fierce criticism from Red Devils fans, as Sir Alex Ferguson not only disbursed £12 million for an 18-year-old promise, but also assigned him the number of one of his stars: David Beckham.
The legendary English player left his post just as the Portuguese promise was joining Manchester United. For sports analysts (let alone fans) it would have been interesting to enjoy the Beckham-Ronaldo tandem.
The only sure thing is that more than one fan raised an eyebrow to see that a stranger like Cristiano was going to use the same dorsal as the English idol. After a difficult start with too many passes and enough overplay, Ronaldo became one of United's most exciting players.
It was only when he retired for military service on the bench of Real Madrid that it became logical for Cristiano Ronaldo to wear number 7, as he was not big at all. Beckham's shadow was long, but not so long as to eclipse the Portuguese star.
Always with long sleeves...
One of the peculiarities of Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United jersey was the use of the long sleeve in front of the short sleeve. This particularity was also present in the clothing worn at Sporting Lisbon, Real Madrid and now Juventus Turin.
Also in the selection of Portugal was the only player, apart from the goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who always played with the long sleeve rather than the short. Even when assigned the short sleeve, Ronaldo wore a thermal undershirt with the club's colours under the official shirt.
There is no specific explanation for this custom or mania, which he shares with other players, such as Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona) and Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid).
... and never with black boots
Another curiosity of Ronaldo's shirt with Manchester United is not in his shirt, but in the boots of the famous dorsal 7.
Just as Ronaldo never wore short sleeves, neither did he wear the traditional black boots. Unlike his 'manias' with the long sleeves, the refusal to wear black boots has an explanation.
It was Max Blau, vice president of Nike Footwear, who explained that "each player has a favorite color, and it is scientifically proven that the color of the boots activates chemical reactions in the player's mind. [...] For example, Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't like to wear black boots because he says that black seems slow to him and he wants to feel fast.
Nearly half a goal per game
Although he did not reach the goalscoring figures of his time at Real Madrid, Ronaldo's Manchester United jersey witnessed astonishing goal rates.
After leaving the Manchester United bench in 2009, he completed his career with a total of 118 goals in 292 games, giving a rate of almost half a goal per game played (0.4 goals to be exact).
Few players could match such a goalscoring figure. The Portuguese star was a real killer from the start.
2009: A giant's farewell
"Every season is a new challenge for me and I always aim to improve in terms of matches, goals and assists. Ronaldo made that point even in his last season on the Red Devils' bench, when his move to Real Madrid sounded louder.
It was one of his best seasons, with a final record of 24 goals in 54 games, which allowed Manchester United to play their second UEFA Champions League final, although they were defeated by Messi's Barcelona.
Ronaldo's last jersey with Manchester United had a very eye-catching design, with the typical Manchester United red accompanied by a black arrow-stripe on the front, just above the advertiser of that season, AIG. The socks also contained very interesting details, being black with a kind of red arrow.
The Portuguese genius once said: "Without football, my life would be worthless. The beautiful game would certainly be very different without Cristiano Ronaldo.
If you want to get one of his Red Devils jerseys, you'll find a selection of vintage Manchester United outfits at The Football Market. Don't miss them!