This year’s summer transfer window will undoubtedly go down in history as the most dramatic – 12 years after his departure, the Portuguese striker will return to the club where he made his name as an international superstar, while Lionel Messi had to join PSG after Barcelona failed to re-sign him due to huge financial debts.
Cristiano Ronaldo has not yet played a single match for Manchester United, yet the club’s fans, coaches, players, both former and current, seem to have been “infected” with Ronaldo-mania. “It’s a dream for players and fans to have him back”, Red Devils goalkeeper David de Gea told Sky Sports, commenting on the forward’s arrival.
Defender Luke Shaw revealed that the news of Ronaldo’s signing has given the players “a massive lift”.
“He’s been one of the best players in the world for a number of years now and everyone is excited for him to come in so we can learn and play with him”, the defender said.
Former midfielder Roy Keane, who played alongside Ronaldo for two seasons, admits he too has come down with Ronaldo-mania as he celebrated the forward’s return to Old Trafford. The athlete-turned-sports pundit is certain that Ronaldo’s return will bring much-desired trophies to the Red Devils.
“I think it’s great news for United, the fans, the Premier League. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s still a world-class player. We saw at the Euros he won the Golden Boot; he’ll have the incentive of the World Cup. He’s a clever guy. He’s coming back to United to win stuff. I don’t think he’ll be the difference in terms of winning the big trophies – Man Utd still have the same problems with or without Ronaldo, and that’s midfield – but an FA Cup or a League Cup is more than possible”, Keane told Sky Sports.
He Will Not Warm the Bench
United’s manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, said he expects the club to get the paperwork done in the comings days so that the Portuguese striker will be able to join the team as soon as possible. As to how Solskjaer plans to use Ronaldo, who will turn 37 next February, the Norwegian made it clear – the athlete’s venerable age is not a problem.
“He is not signing to sit on the bench. He is going to make us a better team. Cristiano has evolved as a player; he used to play wide right, wide left, up front. He’s more of a centre forward for me at the moment, but there will be games where we play with two or three up front. I want him in the box, I want him scoring goals”, Solskjaer said.
There were a lot of rumours surrounding Ronaldo’s transfer. Reports said that both current and former players and even legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson were persuading the athlete to return to Old Trafford. Solskjaer declined to confirm or deny the reports, stressing that Ronaldo’s desire was the key factor.
“We’ve always been watching Cristiano, the one day he was going to move we were going to be interested. We never thought he was going to leave Juventus this season. When he did, we had to speak to him, of course. Everyone that cares for Manchester United wanted this to happen, everyone played a part, but the biggest thing is that Cristiano wanted to come here”, United’s manager said.
Reports say the Portuguese star will likely appear on the pitch in a United jersey on 11 September when they face Newcastle.