Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus.
United have agreed to pay £12.8m for the 36-year-old, with the deal subject to personal terms, a visa and a medical.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell at Old Trafford before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.
“Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester,” said a United statement.
United’s announcement came after a dramatic 24 hours. Neighbours Manchester City had looked to be one of the favourites to land the forward and some reports suggested personal terms had already been agreed between the two.
However, Ronaldo has opted to return to United where he spent six years and won three Premier League titles, one Champions League, two League Cups and one FA Cup – as well as the Fifa Club World Cup and Community Shield – under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Initially, Ronaldo thought there was no chance of a deal with his former club, but United have decided to make it happen, while City have missed out on another striker option after main target Harry Kane committed to Tottenham.
Speaking before City face Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Pep Guardiola said: “Cristiano is a Juventus player. I cannot add anything else.
“In these three or four days left until the transfer window shuts, anything can happen but, in my view, there are few players – Cristiano Ronaldo included, Messi is another – they decide where they are going to play.
“Right now, my feeling is I am more than delighted with the squad we have and we will stay the same.”
United only appeared to become an option when manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held a news conference on Friday afternoon and said their former star “knows that we’re here”.
Solskjaer added United’s Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes has been talking to his compatriot Ronaldo.
A few hours later the club announced they had reached an agreement for what will be their third major signing of the summer transfer window following the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
In numbers: Why Ronaldo is one the world’s best
- A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, claiming the coveted prize in 2008 (with Man Utd) and 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 (all with Real Madrid).
- A five-time Champions League winner in 2008 (with Man Utd), and 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (all with Real Madrid).
- Won seven league titles in three major leagues in 2007, 2008, 2009 (all with Man Utd), 2012 and 2017 (with Real Madrid) and 2019, 2020 (with Juventus).
- A European Championship winner with Portugal in 2016.
- Winner of 32 trophies for club and country with Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Portugal.
- All-time Champions League leading scorer with 134 goals in 176 appearances.
On Wednesday, Juventus told Ronaldo they were willing to sell him during the transfer window – but only if their conditions were met by interested clubs.
“[Ronaldo] gave his contribution, he made himself available, now he leaves and life goes on,” boss Massimiliano Allegri said on Friday.
“Things change, it’s a law of life. Juventus remains, which is the most important thing.
“He is to be thanked for what he has done, also as an example among the youngsters. But as I said, we must go on.”
According to reports, Ronaldo informed his Juventus colleagues he was set to leave this month after three years at the 36-time champions of Italy.
He then drove to the training ground on Friday morning but left before taking part in the session.
Ronaldo said goodbye to Juventus, who paid £99.2m for the player in July 2018, in an Instagram post.
“Today I depart from an amazing club, the biggest in Italy and surely one of the biggest in all of Europe,” he wrote.
“I gave my heart and soul for Juventus and I’ll always love the city of Turin until my final days.”
‘The hottest ticket in world football’ – reaction
Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand said he had spoken to Ronaldo this week after reading reports linking him with a move to rivals Manchester City. He also said Ronaldo had spoken to former manager Sir Alex Ferguson before agreeing a return to Old Trafford.
“Sir Alex played a massive part,” Ferdinand said. “There was no way Cristiano was coming to Manchester United without speaking to Sir Alex. Simple as that.
“The attention on the club, the attention on the other players – you can’t put into words what it’s going to do for the dressing room and the fan base,” Ferdinand added.
“He’ll get you 25-30 goals this season. That’s what he does – he outscored Romelu Lukaku last year in Serie A, but what he can do for Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho alone is worth bringing.
“He will show them what an A-lister, genuine superstar and an absolute obsessive professional lives and breathes on a daily basis.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Michael Owen added: “Manchester United need a centre-forward who can bang in 25-plus goals a season; they haven’t had that for a while.
“He’s not a signing to appease the fans, he will be playing in all the big games. He definitely has a year or two more in him where he can score more than 20 goals.
“If he could score 30 goals this season I would be lost for words, but I wouldn’t put anything past him, even now.”
Owen Hargreaves, who won the Champions League alongside Ronaldo in 2008, said: “I remember my first day training with him. He was the first person on the training pitch, the first person in the ice bath and then the first person in the gym.
“I remember him doing sit-ups and at the end of his set he sat up and said: ‘I’m going to be the best player in the world at the end of this year.’ And he was.
“His dedication to his craft is equal to his talent, which is remarkable.
“Everyone thinks it’s all about him, but he wants to win. He’s coming back to United to win and that’s why I think as a mentor for these young guys at United he is the perfect fit and I think it’s going to be fabulous to watch it all.”