Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo said he has a “never ending love” for Manchester United after sealing his return to Old Trafford from Juventus on Tuesday.
United have secured the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for a initial fee of 15 million euros that could rise to 23 million euros ($27 million, £20 million) according to figures released by the Italian club.
The 36-year-old has signed a two-year contract with an option to extend that deal by a further season.
Ronaldo made his name on the world stage in six years at United between 2003 and 2009 before moving to Real Madrid for a then world record transfer fee of £80 million.
The Portugal captain scored 118 goals in 292 games during his first spell at United, winning his first Ballon d’Or and Champions League title, as well as three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups.
“This is absolutely 100% the stuff that dreams are made of,” Ronaldo posted on Instagram.
“Everyone who knows me, knows about my never ending love for Manchester United. The years I spent in this club were 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.”
Ronaldo is expected to make his second United debut at home to Newcastle on September 11.
But the United support were already delirious at his impending arrival as they chanted his name and held up a cardboard cut out of Ronaldo in a 1-0 win at Wolves on Sunday.
“History has been written in the past and history will be written once again!” Ronaldo added. “You have my word! I’m right here! I’m back where I belong! Let’s make it happen once again!”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played alongside his new star during his previous spell in England, but it was his former boss Alex Ferguson who played a big part in convincing Ronaldo to return to the club despite interest from Premier League champions Manchester City.
“Sir Alex, this one is for you,” said Ronaldo.
– Pressure on Solskjaer –
The investment in Ronaldo, who is set to become the highest paid player in the Premier League, piles the pressure on Solskjaer to end his wait to win a major trophy since taking charge of the Red Devils in December 2018.
United have also signed Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate Raphael Varane to bolster their defence and splashed out £73 million to bring 21-year-old England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund in their quest to win a first Premier League title since 2013.
“Ronaldo’s return demonstrates the unique appeal of this club and I am absolutely delighted he is coming home to where it all started,” said Solskjaer.
Solskjaer’s men have taken seven points from their opening three Premier League games to sit two points behind leaders Tottenham.
The English giants have also not won the Champions League since 2008, when Ronaldo scored in the final against Chelsea in Moscow.
However, Ronaldo’s experience in Italy serves as a warning that even his goalscoring prowess does not bring a guarantee of success in Europe.
In his three seasons in Turin, Juve never made it beyond the Champions League quarter-finals — crashing out to far less well-resourced opposition in Ajax, Lyon and Porto.
Inter Milan also ended Juventus’ nine-year grip on Serie A last season.
However, Ronaldo still topped the Serie A goal charts last season and rolled back the years at Euro 2020 to win the Golden Boot despite playing just four games as Portugal bowed out at the last 16.