Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Manchester United is being hailed as one of the biggest transfers in football history. How did they pull it off?
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers in history, and he has been described by many as the best player in the world since his first season with Manchester United in 2003.
When Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sat down for his weekly press conference last Friday and stated Cristiano Ronaldo “knows where we are,” he already knew the club icon would be returning to Old Trafford.
Despite widespread speculation that Ronaldo would join Manchester City, United officials were fairly confident on Thursday night that the momentum surrounding the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s return to the Premier League was shifting away from Etihad Stadium and four miles across Manchester to Old Trafford.
The last push came the next morning, when Sir Alex Ferguson, the former United manager, got involved.
Ferguson and Ronaldo have a close friendship. Long after his departure for Real Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo continued to refer to the Scot as ‘The Boss.’ Ferguson pleaded for Ronaldo to return to Old Trafford, knowing that he would be hero-worshipped. The alternative would be to damage a reputation that has only grown since Ferguson’s departure in 2013, as United has battled to reclaim previous glory.
Ronaldo’s old teammates Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra had sent supportive comments before Ferguson’s remarks. Darren Fletcher, a former teammate and current United technical director, was also cited by Sport as being a part of a coordinated operation that included Ronaldo’s Portugal teammate Bruno Fernandes.
And this transfer was more than just a late charm attack.
One senior United official reportedly warned Ferguson that he would sooner “gouge his own eyes out” than allow City to acquire a player with such a strong United connection.
However, the club has already spent a significant amount of money this summer, necessitating lengthy discussions between the Glazer family and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in order to continue with the transaction.
There is no question that there will be a significant economic benefit, but once United had secured internal backing, Ferguson was able to expand on an existing strong connection with Jorge Mendes, with whom United had been in contact throughout the summer.
By the time Solskjaer spoke to the press, Juventus coach Max Allegri had already announced Ronaldo’s departure to the rest of the world. In effect, the transaction was done.
Solskjaer, as is his custom, did not want to reveal anything until it was absolutely certain. Before the guy from the Telegraph got a last go, he dodged queries regarding Ronaldo three times.
Why, he wondered, would Manchester United not attempt to sign one of the best players in the world if he was available?
Solskjaer looked into the camera and gave just enough away for those who already knew what was going on – and for some, it was on Thursday – to be confident that it would happen, even if the rest of the world didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.
Solskjaer said, “I didn’t believe Cristiano would leave Juventus.” “There have been rumors.
“We’ve always had an excellent working relationship. I’m sure Bruno has spoken to him as well. He is well aware of our opinions about him. If he ever wanted to leave Juventus, he knows we’re waiting for him.”
‘He knows we’re here,’ Solskjaer says of Ronaldo.
Juventus had received a formal offer of €15 million, plus an extra €8 million in add-ons, at that time. United announced a re-signing deal with Ronaldo little over three hours later. United announced the agreement on Tuesday morning, Transfer Deadline Day.
United emerges from the shadows.
Ronaldo, along with Gareth Bale, was seen as one of United’s top objectives for easing them into the post-Ferguson era in 2013.
Rumors of a return to Old Trafford have ebbed and flowed over the years, usually around contract negotiations, but it has never appeared likely that the player who spent six years at United between 2003 and 2009, scoring 118 goals in 292 appearances and winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, would return.
Throughout the summer, United kept a close eye on Ronaldo’s tumultuous situation at Juventus. Juve has been struggling financially and is still at odds with Uefa over the failed Super League idea, which United and the other five English teams abandoned swiftly.
The channel of contact with Jorge Mendes, the player’s long-time agent, remained open. However, when speculations about Ronaldo joining Paris Saint-Germain started to circulate, United stayed in the background, as Solskjaer said. They believed it was still more probable that Ronaldo will stay in Turin for the last year of his deal.
When Manchester City got involved, their antenna was appropriately raised.
City were either thinking about completing a deal or saying it had already been done by Thursday night, depending on who you spoke to. According to reliable sources, the Blues are intrigued but unsure how to make a deal work since it would need them to sell someone, which has not been easy in this summer’s transfer market.
United only got into gear and made their pitch after that.
In 2003, Ronaldo joined Manchester United and went on to record 118 goals for the club.
While top-flight teams are not required to explain their transfer choices, many do so.
Ronaldo’s return to United represents a reunion with the club’s magnificent semi-recent past. When Solskjaer was hired as Jose Mourinho’s successor, firstly on a temporary basis, in December 2019, no club icon could be a better symbol of what United once was than Ronaldo.
Between 2006-07 and 2008-09, the Portuguese had three seasons in which they littered the club with moments of absolute brilliance.
This transfer, on the other hand, is about the present.
United are not alone in believing that, even at 36, Ronaldo maintains many of the qualities that have led to his being regarded as one of the best players of all time, alongside Lionel Messi. With 29 goals last season, he surpassed Romelu Lukaku as Italy’s Golden Boot winner.
Ronaldo’s renowned fitness and professionalism are regarded as proof that he is completely worthy of the two-year deal he will get from United, which will be announced after the move is finalized by the deadline of Tuesday at 23:00 BST.
Ronaldo, according to United, is a good match for their stated goal of combining world-class acquisitions with promising young players. They still consider themselves to have one of the youngest squads in the Premier League.
Furthermore, they see the deal – along with the additions of Rafael Varane and Jadon Sancho – as proof that United can still attract the best players; that outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward can complete the most significant transfers; and that big-name players are happy to play for Solskjaer, who has been mocked as a PE teacher by some cruel critics.
The Cavani dilemma
In addition to the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, which has cost them £150 million in non-recoverable revenue, United are also concerned about the continued effects of the coronavirus.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson was severely impacted after catching it, and the team has already had first-hand experience with it this season.
It may not provide an answer to the thorny question of what number Ronaldo will wear – even if Cavani was willing to hand over his number seven shirt, Premier League rules prevent a mid-season switch except in the most extreme circumstances – but it may help relations with a player whose time in England was marred by a three-match suspension for a social media post deemed discriminatory by the Foo.
The anticipated reunion
Ronaldo will now join his nation for two World Cup qualifiers, the latest of which is on September 7 in Azerbaijan.
In theory, this should allow him to make his second United debut the following Saturday, against Newcastle, in a game that has not been chosen for live TV coverage but will almost definitely be covered by Radio 5 Live.
The last time Ronaldo played against Newcastle for Manchester United at Old Trafford, he scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 victory, emphasizing why, almost universally, supporters were overjoyed at the announcement of his return.
The real success of the 36-year-return old’s can only be judged on the field, but if the reaction to the ultimate result of a most incredible day is any indication, Manchester United’s acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo is a sure-fire triumph.
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