Could Angel di Maria have to give up the Manchester United #7 shirt?

Ronaldo Celebrates

Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a Manchester United return, but which shirt would he take?

A year after it appropriately sat vacant, illustrating a failure to capture a marquee signing in the summer of 2013, Manchester United spectacularly filled the number 7 shirt last month.

They signed £60 million Angel di Maria from Real Madrid, and the Argentine lit up Old Trafford on his home debut against QPR at the weekend, illustrating he was deserving of the iconic shirt.

He spoke just yesterday at his honour at wearing the shirt, in quotes published by the Daily Star, Di Maria said, “It is very nice to use this number. Many important players have worn this shirt and I am going to do all that is possible to not let down this shirt.”

One of those players was 2008 Champions League winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who it has been heavily speculated will return to the club.

Suggesting for a moment that Ronaldo clinches a return to Old Trafford next summer, a big decision will have to be made over his shirt number.

Ronaldo continued to wear the number 7 shirt at Real Madrid, and is often referred to as simply CR7.

The Ballon d'Or winner sells his branded underwear with the CR7 logo, although it was revealed only last month he was being challenged by an American man who insists he holds the trademark to the three-figure letter number combination.

It's likely upon returning, he would want to be handed back his old shirt number and continue where he left off, in the world of image rights and such like, it could cause unwanted headaches for Ronaldo from a marketing standpoint - not to mention that it just would not seem right seeing him at United wearing a shirt bearing another number.

He would however have to convince Di Maria, his old pal from Real Madrid to give up the number, but that may depend on which others are available for the Argentine to take. Could Januzaj be shoved out of the number 11 jersey?

Switching Di Maria around would be unwelcome for United fans who have bought a Di Maria 7 shirt, but given it would be next season and a new shirt will be released in any case, the marketing department at Old Trafford would surely see it as an opportunity, rather than a problem.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch