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Shinji Kagawa Turns Down No. 7 Shirt

Shinji Kagawa's <strike>table cloth</strike> shirt won't have the number 7 on the back.
Shinji Kagawa's table cloth shirt won't have the number 7 on the back.

In a bit of a departure from what many thought to be conventional wisdom, Shinji Kagawa will not be donning the famous number 7 in his first year at Old Trafford.

Speaking to Japanese media after his first visit to Manchester, Kagawa revealed that he was offered the number worn by the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo, but elected for a number with "personal meaning" instead. And one without the pressure and mystique of past United legends.

"I've just joined the team and haven't accomplished anything yet. I want to make a name for myself [at United] on my own terms," he said.

On the one hand, it's a great sign of humility shown by Kagawa to feel underserving of such a great honor at such an early stage of his United career. But for fans, it's just a little bit of a bummer. The number 7 shirt has taken on a cult and hallowed existence with multiple Ballon d'or trophies and captain arm badges bestowed to the players wearing it, and we were all more than willing to push that honor on to Kagawa.

The situation echoes back to the arrival of a young Cristiano Ronaldo, who was keen to wear the number 28 shirt that he wore at Sporting to avoid the lofty expectations, but was more ore less forced to accept the 7 shirt at the behest of Fergie.

Perhaps the cynics and the City fans will take this as a sign of Fergie losing his edge for not givingKagawa the same sort of treatment, or perhaps he just has a different number in mind for this upcoming season. Number 20.