Cristiano Ronaldo: Sir Alex told me to wear No. 7 at Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo has said it came as a surprise when Sir Alex Ferguson told him he was to wear the No. 7 shirt at Manchester United, following in the footsteps of George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.

Speaking at a promotional event, Real Madrid star Ronaldo said he had initially been set to wear No. 28 but Ferguson told him: "Look, I would like you to wear No. 7."

He added: "I was surprised because I knew of all the great players who had worn that jersey."

Ronaldo, who was just 18 when he arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, won three Premier League titles and the Champions League with United.

He also received his first Ballon d'Or trophy as a United player before making a €94 million move to Madrid in 2009.

Portugal captain Ronaldo said he had enjoyed a "dream" time at Old Trafford.

"It was the start of my successful stage in football," he added. "I did not only improve my football skills, but also my physique.

"In my five years there, I learned the art of football. We won many things together. It was a dream for me."