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27 Aug, 2021 16:20

‘Welcome home, Cristiano’: Fernandes, Sancho react as Man United sensationally swoop for Ronaldo 12 years after he left for Madrid

‘Welcome home, Cristiano’: Fernandes, Sancho react as Man United sensationally swoop for Ronaldo 12 years after he left for Madrid

The whirlwind transfer saga that has stunned the world has ended in sensational style after Manchester United announced they have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a second spell at the club – 15 years after he first joined them.

A breathtaking day of activity that started with Ronaldo reporting to Juventus's training ground and proceeded with the wantaway hitman being whisked away from Turin on a private jet has culminated in United signing the superstar who won the first of his Ballon d'Or awards at Old Trafford.

"Welcome home, Cristiano," a social media announcement from the Premier League giants boomed, accompanied by a montage of photos from Ronaldo's spectacular first stay at the club.

Arch-rivals Manchester City had been considered favorites to sign the 36-year-old amid reports that he wanted to leave Italian heavyweights Juve, where he had top-scored for three seasons, by the end of the week.

At one stage, that seemed a strong enough probability for United fans who adored Ronaldo during his all-conquering first period at the club to burn shirts branded with his name.

Now the all-time great, who won the Premier League title three times and the Champions League with United between 2003 and 2009, will be entertaining those supporters again – and few will mind swallowing their pride on their way to the club shop to buy a new shirt in honor of their returning hero.

United did not disclose whether they had paid a fee to Juventus, who had reportedly been seeking around $34 million for their talisman as he approached the end of his contract next year.

In a statement, the club said: "Manchester United is delighted to confirm that the club has reached agreement with Juventus for the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo, subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical.

"Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester."

Bruno Fernandes, United's key playmaker and a teammate of Ronaldo at Portugal, cheekily suggested that he had been involved in the transfer by tweeting: "Agent Bruno?"

Ronaldo is rumored to have spoken to a number of current and former figures around the club in the days before his shock move, including legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who signed him as a wiry prospect from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon and led him to the huge successes of his early career.

The official Premier League social media account poked fun at Fernandes and Ronaldo's expertise at scoring spot kicks, asking the first-choice takers: "But who will take penalties? Asking for a friend."

New United wideman Jadon Sancho called the signing "scary", which could describe how Premier League defenses may feel at seeing a player responsible for 118 goals in 292 games in his United career so far back and ready to score more.

The deadly talisman had been expected to see out his deal with Juventus despite being absent from their starting lineup for their Serie A opener at Udinese on Sunday, which the club insisted was a mutual decision.

That unusual development came in the wake of Ronaldo issuing a personal statement in an attempt to end increasing conjecture linking him with Real Madrid, the Spanish giants he spent nine years with after leaving United.

Portugal captain Ronaldo was seen leaving Juventus's training pitch with a reported arm injury on Thursday, yet few could have foreseen the remarkable drama that was to follow early on Friday, when reports surfaced that Ronaldo had gathered his belongings from club facilities and said farewell to his teammates.

In between footage of Ronaldo departing in a car and boarding his plane, new Juve boss Max Allegri admitted that his star striker had told him he never wanted to play for the club again.

Also on rt.com ‘Now he leaves’: Juventus boss Allegri reveals Ronaldo gave him no notice of exit as superstar ‘drives away for last time’ (VIDEO)