Cristiano Ronaldo said Manchester United has “always had a special place” in his heart after completing his return to the club from Juventus. The 36-year-old finalized his transfer to the Red Devils on Tuesday for an initial fee of £13million, signing a two-year contract with the option of a third.
The deal came after United made a late push to bring the player back to the club, just as it had looked likely he would sign for rivals Manchester City. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell at United from 2003 to 2009, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, a trophy he has lifted five times in his career.
Ronaldo is expected to make his first appearance for United in 12 years against Newcastle United on September 11, after the international break. “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,” he said via United’s website.
“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.” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was a team-mate of Ronaldo’s towards the end of his playing career, was delighted to bring Real Madrid’s record goalscorer back to the club.
“You run out of words to describe Cristiano,” Solskjaer said. “He is not only a marvelous 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.”