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Antonio Valencia vacates No. 7 shirt

Antonio Valencia has given up the most prestigious shirt in Manchester United’s history after a difficult year wearing the number graced by five of the club’s greats.

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George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have made the No. 7 shirt particularly prized at Old Trafford.

And it was handed to winger Valencia after an excellent 2011-12 campaign when he was named United’s Player of the Year.

However, the Ecuador international struggled with injuries and form in the shirt last season, and wore it for the final time in Friday’s 3-1 defeat to Sevilla.

When he came off the bench in Sunday’s Community Shield win against Wigan, he was wearing the No. 25 shirt that he wore in his first three seasons at United, after requesting a change.

It leaves No. 7 vacant and raises the possibility that manager David Moyes will give it to a marquee signing, if he can secure one, although No. 9, last worn by Dimitar Berbatov, is also unoccupied.

Since Ronaldo’s £80 million move to Real Madrid in 2009, United’s No. 7s have not fared as well as their predecessors.

Fringe player Michael Owen wore it for three years at Old Trafford before Valencia’s sole season last term.

Nick Powell, who wore No. 25 last season, will have to be reallocated another number now that Valencia has reclaimed it.

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