It has been a long time coming. Just like how you’d never imagined that Lionel Messi would ever leave the Nou Camp, diehard fans of the Red Devils had all but given up hope on a Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford. That is, of course, until now.
This is how Ronaldo’s upcoming homecoming to Manchester United became a reality.
The Prodigal Son Has Come Home To MU
After a three-day negotiation between Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes and officials from both Manchester City and Juventus broke down, the Portuguese megastar’s future was looking to be uncertain — until Mendes approached a famous and familiar former club of the international footballer.
From thereon, Cristiano Ronaldo’s future was settled in a matter of hours as a premier league transfer was all but inevitable.
This latest thrilling transfer news means that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will finally return to MU after 12 years away. And it was also news that has taken the football world by storm as it had been looking like he would be heading to the other side of the pitch to United’s bitter rivals, Manchester City.
Prior to the transfer, Ronaldo had already requested his representatives to feel out any potential suitors as he prepared to return for pre-season training in mid-July. While he had signed a massive four-year contract worth €31m a season (post-tax), it is understood that the Portuguese forward was keen on pursuing new challenges after Portugal’s final-16 exit in the recently concluded Euro 2020 tournament.
To that end, Mendes had informally approached many of Europe’s biggest clubs including Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, MU, MC, and Chelsea but had not received encouraging enough interest about the potential move. However, when Man City was informed that their transfer offer of £127m for Harry Kane would not be accepted, the situation took a drastic turn. Ronaldo requested a meeting with new head coach Massimiliano Allegri the day before Juventus were going to face Udinese in their first Serie A game of the season and made it known that he intended to leave the club. They both decided that Ronaldo would start the match on the bench with Allegri only introducing the Portuguese player at the 59th-minute mark as Udinese secured a 2-2 draw.
Later, Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved dismissed reports that Ronaldo wanted out from the club and doubled down on the fact that he was staying. That was far from the truth though as Mendes stepped up his exit strategy for his most famous client.
That same evening, Mendes began negotiating with City, who was still adamant on taking Ronaldo only if it was a free transfer. Mendes then had a tense meeting with Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini who had put forth that the club wanted a fee of about €30m in order to comply with financial fair play regulations.
Similarly, at the Etihad, the English Premier League club still did not prepare any formal offer after rejecting Juve’s proposal to include Brazillian striker Gabriel Jesus in the mix. Mendes spent some time trying to convince both parties to meet in the middle to no avail. And when no agreement could be struck, Mendes picked up the phone to Old Trafford.
Within mere hours, the transfer move had been expedited thanks to a series of encouraging calls from Ronaldo’s current and former teammates including the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Rio Ferdinand. Both Man U and Mendes reached a verbal agreement for a two-year contract and by the time morning came, they had already begun negotiating fees and terms with Juventus.
With an initial €12m offering, Juve eventually settled for €15m upfront and bonuses that would have taken the total cost to around €20m. In the meantime, Ronaldo had arrived at the Vinovo to collect his belongings and to inform Allegri and his teammates that he was finally going home. To Manchester United, that is.