Cristiano Ronaldo says he has spoken to Angel di Maria to warn him of the responsibility of taking Manchester United’s iconic No.7, but believes his former Real Madrid colleague is capable of doing it justice.
It was confirmed on Thursday, as expected, that Di Maria had been afforded the chance to succeed the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Ronaldo by wearing the most esteemed of Manchester United numbers.
Ronaldo too was awarded the No.7 upon arrival at Old Trafford and wore it for the duration of his successful stay with the club, so he is acutely aware of the level of pressure and expectation on Di Maria at the present time.
The two spoke before Di Maria decided to pursue his transfer away from the Santiago Bernabeu, and Ronaldo expects the Argentina international to become a player of great importance for Manchester United.
"I said to him, 'No.7 is a big responsibility', but I think he will be able to take that shirt because he's a fantastic player,” Ronaldo told reporters at the Champions League group stage draw.
Aware of importance
Following his conversation with Ronaldo, Di Maria explained that he was “aware of the importance” of being the latest in a long line of prominent players to have the No.7 adorning their respective backs, and is optimistic it can inspire him to new heights.
“I want to wear the shirt and do as much as I can for the club, like Ronaldo did,” he told the official Manchester United website.
“The club also wanted me to wear the no.7 shirt and I hope I can live up to it."
Di Maria is expected to make his debut for Manchester United against in Saturday’s early kick-off at Burnley as the club bid to achieve a maiden competitive victory under Louis van Gaal.
The 26-year-old would have experienced something of a shock to witness his new side humiliated by MK Dons on Tuesday just hours after the confirmation of his arrival, and supporters will be desperate to see Di Maria arrest the club’s recent slide.
They had achieved victory in all six of Van Gaal’s pre-season fixtures, albeit one of which was courtesy of a penalty shootout, but have been toothless and inept since the start of the Premier League campaign.
An opening day defeat at home to Swansea was followed by a tepid draw away at Sunderland, before the 4-0 drubbing handed out by League One opposition in the Capital One Cup.