If you haven’t heard it already where have you been?! After a day of emotional turmoil for Manchester fans all around the world, the Ronaldo Man U return was sealed. The greatest player of all time (yes, he’s greater than the wee Argentinian fella!) returns to arguably one of the greatest clubs of all time. It’s certainly one of the most exciting transfer deals of the 2021/22 summer transfer window. Ronaldo returning to Man U, not only impacts the club but the entire league.
The Premier League has always been filled with talent, it’s what makes it the best league in the world. However, the fact that the G.O.A.T is back playing on English soil makes this year that little bit more special. Even for those that despise Man U!
Let’s find out more about the legend himself.
When was Ronaldo’s Man U debut?
Ronaldo’s first debut for Manchester United was on the 16th of August 2003. Sir Alex Ferguson brought him on in the second half against Bolton. The game finished 4-0 to the reds and Ronaldo quickly showed his talents. The fans had no idea what was going to become of the scrawny 18-year-old but it was immediately clear that this kid was something special.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, now Man U’s manager, was also on the field that game and played with Ronaldo for three seasons. So, the pair know each other well, and Solskjaer will know exactly what he’s capable of, on and off the field.
In just 29 minutes, Ronaldo managed to win a penalty, set up a great chance for Van Nistelrooy and was involved in Giggs’ second goal. Not to mention he made a nuisance of himself to Bolton’s right-back Nicky Hunt.
After the game, despite all of the stellar performances from the Man U stalwarts such as Giggs and Scholes, everyone wanted to talk about Ronaldo. Even the famously hard to please Ferguson said “It was a marvellous debut, almost unbelievable” and added that Man U had “a new hero”. High praise indeed from the boot-hurling football maestro!
When did Ronaldo leave Man U?
Cristiano Ronaldo stayed at the club for six seasons before leaving to go play for Real Madrid. It was a world-record-breaking deal that saw Madrid pay £80 million for the 24-year-old Portuguese footballer.
During six seasons at the club, he won – well… everything! While Ronaldo was in the number 7 shirt at Manchester United they won three Premier League titles, two League Cups, one FA Cup, the Club World Cup and the Champions League.
During the 2008 season, Manchester United did the double by winning the Premier League and the Champions League. Cristiano’s 42 goals in 49 games certainly helped them achieve the titles. Especially the one against Chelsea in the champions league final. They also helped Ronaldo win his first Ballon d’Or and the vote for the club’s best player for the second year running.
Ronaldo Man U return – When did Ronaldo join Man U?
After a 12 year hiatus from the Premier League, in which he scored 551 goals in 572 appearances for Madrid and Juventus and racked up four additional champions league titles, Ronaldo returns to where it all started.
There were strong rumours that Cristiano was in talks with Manchester City, which would have devastated United fans. However, as soon as Manchester United FC heard that Ronaldo was available, they started negotiations with Juventus. The rumours quickly changed from a City to a United deal which was confirmed on the 31st August 2021 when Ronaldo signed the contract.
The deal saw United fork out £19 million for the 36-year-old and offer Ronaldo a two-year contract with the option to add another year if the legend still fancies another season of top-flight football. He will earn in excess of £480,000 a week, making him the highest-paid player in English football.
In an Instagram post on the day of the Ronaldo Man U return, Cristiano wrote:
“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…|”
Ronaldo Man U stats
We’ve already touched on Ronaldo’s impressive Manchester United resumé. However, here’s a full rundown of what he achieved whilst at the club the first time around.
- He played 292 games for a total of 22,342 minutes
- In that time he scored 118 goals for the club
- As well as 69 assists
- He was given 38 yellows, two-second yellows and two straight reds
- Ronaldo had 132 wins and 28 losses with Man U in the PL
- He had a total of 540 shots with 201 on-target shots in the Premier League
- Cristiano missed a total of ZERO big chances
- He won three Premier League titles with the club
- As well as two league cups, the FA Cup, and The Club World Cup
- Ronaldo also won two Champions League titles with the reds
- He was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 2008
- His departure from the club broke the transfer fee world record (£80 million)
What does the Ronaldo Man U return mean for the reds this season?
It’s safe to safe that the Ronaldo that’s coming home to Old Trafford is not the same Ronaldo that left 12 years ago. The last time he played for the reds he was the club’s all-around attacker who could create chances, dribble past defenders and shoot absolute belters from anywhere in the attacking third. Despite his youthful looks, Ronaldo is no spring chicken anymore. As he has reached the latter stages of his career he’s had to adjust his game to stay competitive.
Now, he focuses on getting himself into a good position within the penalty box so he’s ready to strike, with little influence on playmaking. Effectively he needs his team to do the hard graft of winning possession and the creative work to open up space, then he’ll be in the right spot ready to smash the ball into the back of the net.
This style of play wouldn’t suit every team. It relies on having a deep squad of creative, hard-working, attacking players that are happy to give up the glory of the final finish. Luckily, Man U have players like Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho who have no issue moving forward and building attacking moves. However, in the past Manchester United have been criticised for not finishing the chances that they create. So, having a world-class finisher like Ronaldo poised to receive and strike in the penalty box at all times is exactly what Man U need.
Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United is not only nostalgic but it’s also tactically very smart. The way the team is set up will mean Ronaldo will have every opportunity for a season with plenty of goals. There’s no doubt that Manchester United tickets will be in high demand and Old Trafford will be packed out for the duration of the season.
Ronaldo smashes the shirt sales record
As well as being tactically smart, Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United is financially savvy. Within four hours of the club confirming that he would continue to play in the number 7 jersey, the club had sold enough shirts to break the record of the most sales of a single sports merchandise item in a day. They then went on to recoup half of the player’s transfer fee in shirt sales within 72 hours of the initial sale date. Not bad, hey!
What does Cristiano Ronaldo returning mean for the Premier League?
Quite simply, the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to English football means that the Premier League will be getting a whole lot more attention and media coverage this year. Something that the league officials will be relishing in.
Since Manchester United went public with the news that they had officially signed Ronaldo, there have been around 10,000 articles published on the topic, with 499.3 words published per minute and 37.25 tweets about the Portuguese superstar tweeted per minute – according to data from Sky Sports. Cristiano is also the most followed person on Instagram with 340 million followers. So, all the additional noise in the media and attention from Ronaldo’s devoted followers will be more eyeballs on the Premier League this season. This will give the league justification to bump up advertising fees and the cost of television rights.
If you needed any proof of how much the Premier League values the return of the cash cow, sorry Cristiano Ronaldo, then you only have to look at how they changed the rulebook just for him. There was an obscure rule that stated a player had to wear the same shirt number all season. Edison Cavani had already played a game in the number 7 shirt against wolves in the third game of the season. This could have been a deal-breaker as we all know Cristiano has his CR7 brand which kind of means he has to play in the number 7 shirt.
However, the Premier League didn’t want to miss out on the commercial opportunity the player and his CR7 brand would bring to the league and Manchester United Football Club. So, after some pleading from Man U, they bent the rules and let Cavani play in his preferred number 21 shirt and allowed Ronaldo to stay on brand with the number 7 shirt.
So, overall Ronaldo’s return is not just about what he can do on the football field, it’s about the revenue that the money-making machine that is Ronaldo can create for the league.
How much is Cristiano Ronaldo worth?
It wouldn’t be an article on Ronaldo if we didn’t finish off our Ronaldo Man U return analysis by talking about how much the man is worth. He is the highest-paid player in the league after all. Earlier this year he was ranked third on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Although no one can claim they know exactly how much the sports star is worth, it’s been estimated that he has a net worth of around £363 million.
Last year he earned around £87 million of which £36 million was earned through off the field ventures like his CR7 brand. Only Lionel Messi and Connor McGregor earned more than Ronaldo in the sports world last year.
His new contract with Man U will see him take a bit of a pay cut as reports suggest he will take home around £480,000 per week which equates to a yearly salary of €23 million. This moves him from 2nd to 5th on the list of the highest-paid footballers in the world.
So, all in all, he’s not doing too badly considering he is in the twilight of his career!