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mega move How Manchester United gazumped local rivals City to snare Cristiano Ronaldo


Cristiano Ronaldo in his last game for Juventus against Udinese last Sunday (Andrea Bressanutti/AP).

Cristiano Ronaldo in his last game for Juventus against Udinese last Sunday (Andrea Bressanutti/AP).

Cristiano Ronaldo in his last game for Juventus against Udinese last Sunday (Andrea Bressanutti/AP).

When Cristiano Ronaldo said his farewells to his Juventus team-mates on Friday morning, he knew he was on his way back to Manchester United.

Manchester City appeared to be in pole position to sign Ronaldo after they discussed the terms of a deal with his agent Jorge Mendes, but United's eagerness to bring their former No.7 back to Old Trafford changed the direction of this mega transfer.

When United then confirmed on Friday evening that their former idol was on his way back to Manchester to wear their red shirt, the club's website crashed under the weight of people trying to read the official announcement and the Twitter announcement quickly amassed one million likes.

Former United manager Alex Ferguson and current midfielder Bruno Fernandes are among those who contacted Ronaldo to encourage him to return to the club in the last 48 hours and Gary Neville believes it is a deal that ticks all the boxes.

"It's fantastic news," former United defender and ex-team-mate of Ronaldo Garry Neville told Sky Sports News. "It's a little bit nostalgic, which doesn't always work in football, but the idea of Ronaldo going to Manchester City was torture for United fans.

"If there is a big player available, United have to be in the market. We know there's a potential that Erling Haaland could be available next summer, Edinson Cavani's probably got a year, they definitely need a centre-forward option with Cavani.

"I know they've got Mason Greenwood but if you look at the business Chelsea have done, that Manchester City were looking to do, Manchester United had to compete, and what they've done is bolster the squad with a proven goalscorer, a club legend, and it's going to give them an incredible 12 months.

"Ronaldo will be coming to win trophies, personal accolades, set the Premier League on fire. It is a different Ronaldo, everyone expected that.

"But he is a number nine, someone who still has that burst over short distances, he makes great runs inside the box, has anticipation of where the ball's going to drop, and he gives United something they need.

"I said the other day United should be in for Harry Kane if he was available, or Haaland. These types of player. To get above Manchester City and Chelsea they're going to have to do something big, and this could give them a temporary shot in the arm to get them right up there this year.

"I was a little bit fearful watching Chelsea last weekend, knowing City are going to be strong, Liverpool have Virgil van Dijk back, that United could improve but finish in a lower position. But this news gives me more hope that they can have a great season.

"This is one of the most special players that has ever lived, forget Manchester United, it's one of the greats of all time."

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City suggested they had 'decided' to pull out of a deal to sign Ronaldo, but it has become clear that the player made the decision to return to United rather than join their neighbours.

The deal sees United pay €15million to Juventus with €8million in adds-on depending on appearances and success Ronaldo might enjoy in his second spell at the club.

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