Cristiano Ronaldo’s Old Trafford return has finally been confirmed, with the Portugal star completing his dramatic move from Juventus and becoming a United player for the second time in his career.
United have splashed out £12.9million on the 36-year-old with £6.9m to follow in add-ons. Ronaldo has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with an option for a further year after passing a medical in Lisbon at the weekend. It could see him playing for United until he is 39.
Ronaldo said: “Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday.
“I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again. I’m looking forward to joining up with the team after the international games, and I hope we have a very successful season ahead.”
Ronaldo also took to Instagram on Tuesday morning, writing: “Everyone who knows me, knows about my never ending love for Manchester United. The years I spent in this club where (sic) absolutely amazing and the path we’ve made together is written in gold letters in the history of this great and amazing institution.
“I can’t even start to explain my feelings right now, as I see my return to Old Trafford announced worldwide. It’s like a dream come true, after all the times that I went back to play against Man. United, and even as an opponent, to have always felt such love and respect from the supporters in the stands. This is absolutely 100% the stuff that dreams are made of!
“My first domestic League, my first Cup, my first call to the Portuguese National team, my first Champions League, my first Golden Boot and my first Ballon d’Or, they were all born from this special connection between me and the Red Devils. History has been written in the past and history will be written once again! You have my word!
“I’m right here! I’m back where I belong! Let’s make it happen once again! PS – Sir Alex, this one is for you…”
Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to reclaim iconic No 7 shirt on his return to Old Trafford, but Manchester United would be expected to refund fans who had already paid out for ‘Cavani 7’ kits
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added: “You run out of words to describe Cristiano. He is not only a marvellous player, but also a great human being.
“To have the desire and the ability to play at the top level for such a long period requires a very special person. I have no doubt that he will continue to impress us all and his experience will be so vital for the younger players in the squad.
“Ronaldo’s return demonstrates the unique appeal of this club and I am absolutely delighted he is coming home to where it all started.’
Ronaldo’s contract is worth around £385,000 per week, making him one of the highest paid players in the league. That is still a cut on the £500,000-a-week salary he was earning at Juventus.
There was no word from United on what shirt number Ronaldo will take but there have been suggestions that once Daniel James completes his move to Leeds, Edinson Cavani will vacate the No 7 shirt for Ronaldo and move to the No 21 that James currently occupies.
It has been a whirlwind few days for United and Ronaldo, who only last Friday looked destined to arrive on the blue half of Manchester and sign for Pep Guardiola’s City.
But United made a last-ditch intervention with Juventus and Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, while club legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand contacted Ronaldo to dissuade him from joining City.
Ronaldo departed United in 2009 in a then-world record £80m transfer to Real Madrid. He won two LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns in Spain where his personal duel alongside Lionel Messi enraptured football fans across the globe.
His relentless scoring record for Madrid saw him win the Ballon d’Or a further four times, with his most recent triumph coming in 2017. Should he help usher in a new era of success at United that returns them to the trophy-laden era under Ferguson, it’s possible he’ll win a sixth at the club where he won his first.
Juventus confirmed Ronaldo’s departure early on Tuesday morning, hailing his contribution in Italy across three years where he scored 101 goals in 133 appearances.
‘On 10 July 2018, two icons of the European and football world came together – Cristiano Ronaldo became a Juventus player. Today, after three years together and 133 appearances, 101 goals scored and five trophies won, that chapter has come to an end…. The paths of CR7 and Juventus have gone their separate ways,’ Juventus said.
He should be in line to make his second United debut on September 11 against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
In his first spell at United, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one Champions League, one FA Cup and two League Cups. He scored 84 Premier League goals and will be widely tipped to reach the ‘100 club’ before the 2020-21 season is out.