Cristiano Ronaldo: How Manchester United Achieved A Surprising Transfer

"We have always had a good communication. I know Bruno has been talking to him as well. He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move away from Juventus, he knows we are here."

Cristiano Ronaldo: How Manchester United Achieved A Surprising Transfer-SurgeZirc SA
Cristiano Ronaldo/Photo File: Instagram

By the time Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sat down for what can sometimes be a tumultuous media Zoom session at 13:15 BST on Friday afternoon, he already knew Cristiano Ronaldo would be returning to Old Trafford.

Despite widespread speculation that Ronaldo might join Manchester City, United executives were pretty convinced on Thursday night that the momentum surrounding Ronaldo’s return to the Premier League was shifting away from Etihad Stadium and four miles across Manchester to Old Trafford. The final push came the next morning when former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson intervened.

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Ferguson and Ronaldo have a strong bond. Ronaldo continued to refer to the Scot as “The Boss” long after his departure for Real Madrid in 2009. Ferguson pleaded with Ronaldo to return to Old Trafford, knowing that he would be hailed as a hero. The alternative would be to destroy a reputation that, if anything, has grown as United has tried to reclaim prior glory since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

Ferguson’s statements came after expressions of support from Ronaldo’s former teammates Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.

By the time Solskjaer spoke to the media, Juventus coach Max Allegri had already announced Ronaldo’s departure from the club. The transaction was effectively sealed. Solskjaer did not want to reveal anything until it was completely watertight. He dodged queries on Ronaldo three times before the Telegraph’s reporter had one last go.

Why he wondered, would Manchester United not try to sign one of the world’s best players if he was available?

Solskjaer peered into the camera and gave just enough away for those who already had an inkling for what was happening – and for some that was on Thursday – to be certain it would come true, even if the rest of the world did not grasp its true significance. “I didn’t think Cristiano would leave Juventus,” said Solskjaer. “There has been speculation.

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“We have always had a good communication. I know Bruno has been talking to him as well. He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move away from Juventus, he knows we are here.”

By that point, a formal offer of €15m, with an additional €8m in add-ons, was being presented to Juventus. Just over three hours later, United confirmed an agreement to re-sign Ronaldo had been reached.

In addition to the economic impact of the Covid pandemic, which has cost them £150m in non-recoverable income, United are also mindful of the ongoing effect coronavirus is continuing to have.

The club has the first-hand experience of this already in the current campaign after goalkeeper Dean Henderson was badly affected after contracting it. But it has the potential to impact the club in other ways too.

In the midst of the ongoing debate over player availability for next month’s World Cup qualifiers, Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani has appeared to question the Premier League’s blanket decision to deny players the opportunity to represent their country if it means having to quarantine them for 10 days upon their return to England.

United have already stated that they have no intention of selling Cavani or terminating the deal that Solskjaer persuaded the 34-year-old to sign in May.

In the midst of the ongoing debate over player availability for next month’s World Cup qualifiers, Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani has appeared to question the Premier League’s blanket decision to deny players the opportunity to represent their country if it means having to quarantine them for 10 days upon their return to England.

United have already stated that they have no intention of selling Cavani or terminating the deal that Solskjaer persuaded the 34-year-old to sign in May. However, Ronaldo’s presence provides them with some additional leeway in dealing with a player who places a high value on serving his country.

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