7 of the Best No. 7s in English Football History

Manny OtikoContributor IIIDecember 8, 2012

7 of the Best No. 7s in English Football History

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    In most parts of the soccer world, the No. 10 is the magic number given to the star player, but not so in England. While there have been more than a few special No. 10s in England, the number that many youngsters grow up coveting is the No. 7 shirt

    Here are some special No. 7s in English football. 

George Best

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    Best, the original rock star of football, was arguably one of the first pioneers of the special No. 7 shirt.

    He terrorized defenders on both sides of the wing with a Manchester United team that dominated at home and in Europe in the 1960s.

    Best was once praised by Pele for his skills, but his career was curtailed by his love of off-field activities. As he once famously said, "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds (women) and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

    But no one can disagree that he was one of the best players to pull on the Manchester United No. 7 shirt.

Kevin Keegan

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    Kevin Keegan shot to fame as a forward for Liverpool in the 1970s where he donned the No. 7 shirt. He was signed from lowly Scunthorpe and went onto win domestic and European honors with Liverpool.

    He later went on to star with Hamburg, Southampton and Newcastle. Keegan also broke into the England team and later went onto become one of the few world-class players produced by the Three Lions in the '70s and '80s.

    He also wore the No. 7 shirt for England, and was the only player not to get an alphabetical number in the 1982 World Cup squad, his only World Cup appearance.

Kenny Dalglish

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    "King Kenny" was signed to replace Keegan in the Liverpool team, and was also handed his No. 7 shirt. Dalglish's performances were so outstanding that Liverpool fans soon came to identify Dalglish with the No. 7 shirt, instead of Keegan.

    Anyone who watched Liverpool in the late '70s and '80s would agree that Dalglish was the conductor of Liverpool's orchestra. He won every domestic and European honor with Liverpool, and later went on to manage the Reds in two periods. 

Bryan Robson

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    Robson was largely responsible for making the No. 7 shirt a special jersey for Manchester United and England in the 1980s.

    He was one of the first big signings by the flamboyant Ron Atkinson, who was attempting to make over an underachieving United team. A combative midfield player, Robson's career was blighted by injury, but he developed a reputation as a key player who got plenty of goals from midfield.

    He was one of the few hard-drinking players to survive Sir Alex Ferguson's purge and eventually won a Premiership title in the 1992-93 season. 

Eric Cantona

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    Eric Cantona, a French international, arrived in England with a reputation for being a troublemaker, but was quickly snapped up by Howard Wilkinson's Leeds, where he won a league title.

    Leeds sold him to Man United, where his career hit stratospheric levels, even though he was faced with a few sendoffs and suspensions here and there. Cantona played with an arrogance and flair that added him to the list of famous United No. 7s.

David Beckham

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    Although Beckham has changed his number several times, he became a world superstar wearing the No. 7 shirt for Manchester United and England.

    Interestingly, at one point Beckham wore the No. 10 shirt for Manchester United. However, it's easy to imagine him being a special No. 10 too.  

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Although he is now regarded as one of the best players in the world, Ronaldo first came to prominence as a tricky No. 7 for Manchester United.

    Many people scratched their heads when Sir Alex shelled out a fortune for a Portuguese pretty boy. But after some polishing, the diamond in the rough turned into a soccer jewel. Ronaldo now plays for Real Madrid, where he is again No. 7 after initially wearing the No. 9 shirt.