Manchester United announced signing Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday evening, in a sensational return of the Portuguese international to his former club, coming from Italy’s giants Juventus.
The huge transfer cost the Red Devils up to €23m ($27m), and gave the “Don” the chance to play again at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo, aka CR7, moved to Man United back in 2003 at the age of 18 years, coming from Sporting Lisbon, to play for 6 seasons, during which he scored 118 goals in 292 games, winning the English Premier League title three times. Ronaldo also won his first UEFA Champions League trophy and first FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2008 with Man United.
In 2009, he joined Real Madrid, to win four FIFA Ballon d’Or awards and four Champions League titles.
“Manchester United has always had a special place in my heart and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I’ve received since the announcement. I can’t wait to play again at Old Trafford, in a crowded stadium, to see the fans again,” Ronaldo said in a statement.
“I am looking forward to joining the team after the international break, and I hope we will have a very successful season,” he added.
Ronaldo is expected to play his first game with Manchester United against Newcastle United on 11 September.
The English club fans seemed really excited to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner play again for their team, as they chanted his name and raised his picture in the last league match of the Red Devils in which they defeated Wolverhampton 1-0.
The investment in Ronaldo, who is set to become the highest-paid player in the Premier League, is increasing pressure on the team’s coach Solskjaer to win his first major title with the Red Devils since joining in December 2018.
Man United also signed Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate, Raphael Varane, to strengthen their defence. They also paid £73m to sign 21-year-old English winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, in their quest to win their first league title since 2013.
Solskjaer said, “I am delighted to see him [Ronaldo] return to where it all began.”
Man United have collected seven points from their first three league games, ranking the second in the standings, two points behind the table leaders Tottenham.
Man United have not also won the UEFA Champions League since 2008, when Ronaldo scored the winner against Chelsea in Moscow.
Nevertheless, Ronaldo’s experience in Italy could be a warning that his scoring prowess did not guarantee European success.
In the three seasons he spent in Juventus, they failed to go beyond the quarter-finals in the Champions League.