12 years after leaving the club in a world-record move to Real Madrid, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and contender for the title of greatest footballer ever is back at United on a lucrative two-year contract worth around £500,000-a-week that includes the option for an additional 12 months.
The Red Devils swooped to sign their former talisman from Juventus in a cut-price deal worth £12.8million payable over five years, with just £2.56m due up front and a potential further £6.87m in add-ons.
Ronaldo was initially signed by United as a gifted but raw 18-year-old from Sporting in Portugal for a £12.24m fee back in 2003 and went on to become one of the club’s all-time greats, netting 118 goals in 292 games and winning a plethora of major silverware including three Premier League titles, the Champions League, one FA Cup, two League Cups and the Club World Cup.
United have yet to win a trophy under current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and are without a Premier League title since 2013 – the last season of Ferguson’s iconic 27-year reign.
Ronaldo dedicated his return to United to his beloved former boss on social media on Tuesday, with Ferguson said to have played a key role in ensuring the 36-year-old returned to Old Trafford and did not join rivals Manchester City, as had been anticipated.
Writing on Instagram, Ronaldo said: “Everyone who knows me, knows about my never ending love for Manchester United. The years I spent in this club where 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. This is absolutely 100% the stuff that dreams are made of!
“My first domestic League, my first Cup, my first call to the Portuguese National team, my first Champions League, my first Golden Boot and my first Ballon d’Or, they were all born from this special connection between me and the Red Devils. History has been written in the past and history will be written once again! You have my word!
“I’m right here! I’m back where I belong! Let’s make it happen once again! PS – Sir Alex, this one is for you…”