Ahead of the Portuguese star’s return to Old Trafford, the Ecuador international says he knows the history behind the famous Red Devils shirt and is ready to step up to the mantle
Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia is unfazed by the pressure and responsibilities of wearing the No.7 shirt at Old Trafford.
The former Wigan midfielder follows in the footsteps of club legends George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham in the Red Devils’ iconic shirt, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo who returns to the club with Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.
The Ecuador international is well aware of what the jersey stands for, and hopes he can replicate the performances of the players that donned it before him.
“It means a lot,” he told The Daily Mail. “When I arrived at United I was already aware of exactly what the No.7 shirt stood for here, because we all know that many legendary players have passed through the club and worn that shirt.
“Cantona, Cristiano, Beckham – they really were all one-off players and it’s the word ‘individual’ that most accurately describes them.”
Valencia insists “individuality” and a “winning mentality” is what he needs to replicate Ronaldo’s success with the Red Devils ahead of the Portuguese’s Old Trafford return.
“It’s a shirt that needs to be worn by a player who is maybe that little bit different – individuals if you like. That’s how I see it anyway,” the Ecuador international continued.
“You could say it’s the winning mentality. It’s the mentality of a champion, always wanting to win and having that hunger for trophies.
“Players who were almost larger than life.”