Monday, November 29

Ronaldo returns to Manchester United: how the deal was made | Cristiano Ronaldo


IIt was Thursday afternoon when Jorge Mendes decided to call Manchester United to see if they might be interested in the offer of his life. After three days of negotiations between the Portuguese super agent and Manchester City and Juventus officials as he struggled to find a new home for his most famous client before next week’s transfer deadline, Cristiano Ronaldo’s future finally resolved in a matter of hours.

The return of the five-time Ballon d’Or to Old Trafford after a 12-year absence has taken the football world by surprise as it seemed destined to join United’s bitter rivals, although for Mendes the move represents the perfect conclusion to a summer. of speculation. .

Ronaldo first asked his manager to investigate potential suitors as he prepared to return to preseason training in mid-July with new coach Massimiliano Allegri. Having signed a four-year contract worth € 31 million per season after tax when he moved to Italy from Real Madrid in 2018, it is understood that he was eager to pursue a new challenge after leaving Portugal in the knockout stages of Euro 2020..

Mendes informally approached most of Europe’s great hitters, including Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, United, City and Chelsea, but did not receive any firm encouragement about a possible move. Ronaldo even issued a statement criticizing what he called “frivolous” speculation about his future on August 18 after reports in Spain linked him to a return to Madrid. “My history at Real Madrid is written. It has been recorded. In words and numbers, in trophies and titles, in records and in headlines, ”he wrote on Instagram.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 101 goals for Juventus, but the club fell short in Serie A and Europe last season.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 101 goals for Juventus, but the club fell short in Serie A and Europe last season. Photograph: NurPhoto / Getty Images

But when City were informed by Tottenham last weekend that their improved £ 127 million offer for Harry Kane would not be accepted and that the England captain was staying in North London, the situation suddenly changed. While by no means the entire hierarchy of the city was convinced of the need to sign a 36-year-old player and would have represented a major departure from their usual approach to recruiting younger players, Mendes was confident that he could seal a deal despite a reluctance of the Premier League club to pay a transfer fee.

Ronaldo requested a meeting with Allegri the day before Juventus faced Udinese on Sunday in their first Serie A match of the season and told him he wanted to leave the club. They decided that he would start the game on the bench, with Allegri introducing him in the 59th minute as a substitute for Álvaro Morata when Udinese tied it 2-2.

Subsequently, Juventus vice president Pavel Nedved dismissed reports that Ronaldo was ready to leave and insisted that he said he would stay. “We must not try to create sensational stories where there are none,” said the former Czech Republic midfielder and 2003 Ballon d’Or winner. “I can absolutely confirm that Ronaldo will remain at Juventus this season.”

However, behind the scenes, that was far from the truth, as Mendes stepped up his exit strategy. That night, he began negotiating with City, who kept insisting that they would only take Ronaldo on a free transfer. Mendes had what has been described by sources close to the deal as a “really tense” meeting with Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini, and the club insisted they wanted a fee of around 30 million euros to balance their books. and comply with financial fair play. regulations. Cherubini replaced Fabio Paratici in the role after his move to Tottenham in the early summer and did not enjoy as strong a relationship with Mendes as his predecessor.

However, with City, which had also made Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva available for transfer before completing a deal, still not prepared to make a formal offer after rejecting Juve’s proposal to include Brazilian forward Gabriel. Jesus, Mendes spent Thursday morning trying to convince both parties to meet in the middle. When no deal could be reached, the man who negotiated his first transfer in 1996, when now Tottenham manager Nuno Espírito Santo joined Deportivo La Coruña from Portuguese Vitoria, picked up Old Trafford’s phone.

Within hours, the movement accelerated thanks to a series of calls from Ronaldo’s current and former teammates, including Bruno Fernandes and Rio Ferdinand. United and Mendes reached a verbal agreement on personal terms for a two-year contract Thursday night and by the time most people woke up on Friday, they had already started negotiating the rate with Juventus.

Having received an initial offer of € 12 million, Juve finally settled for € 15 million upfront and bonuses that could go as high as € 8 million and are guaranteed to bring the total cost to € 20 million. Meanwhile, Ronaldo had driven to Juventus’ training ground, Vinovo, to collect his belongings and inform Allegri and his teammates that he was leaving for Manchester. United, that is.


www.theguardian.com

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