Ole discusses Ronaldo debut
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Manchester United are poised to make an announcement on the shirt number Cristiano Ronaldo will wear at Old Trafford imminently, it has been claimed. United confirmed the legendary Portuguese forward had returned to the club on Tuesday morning, signing a two-year contract with an option for a third year.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner joins from Juventus for an initial £12.8million with a potential further £6.8m due in add-ons. The 36-year-old is expected to earn £500,000 a year and as a result will become the Premier League’s highest-paid player.
United have however failed to announce as of yet what shirt number Ronaldo will wear, having adorned the iconic No 7 jersey in his last spell at United between 2003 and 2009.
Ronaldo has worn that number throughout his career bar his first campaign at Sporting Lisbon and his debut season at Real Madrid, wearing No 28 in his home country and No 9 in the Spanish capital.
Edinson Cavani currently wears the No 7 at United but Dharmesh Sheth, speaking on Sky Sports’ Transfer Show on deadline day, has confirmed that United are seeking permission to hand Ronaldo his number.
The Red Devils need the green light for Ronaldo to take Cavani’s number because the Uruguayan is already registered with the shirt and rules state that unless a player departs, it cannot be re-allocated without special dispensation.
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But it’s expected United will confirm whether their request to the Premier League has been successful in the very near future.
Sheth explained: “United are seeking special dispensation to get Cristiano Ronaldo the number seven shirt. We know the brand is CR7.
“Watch this space on that one. I’m sure there’ll be an announcement one way or another on his shirt number very, very soon.
“Manchester United fans will be wanting to go to the club shop to buy a Ronaldo shirt. But the number is not yet confirmed.”
Daniel James’ deadline day move to Leeds United could see Cavani take the No 21, which he wears for Uruguay, if Ronaldo is indeed allowed to take the No 7 once more.
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Of the deal, Sheth also added: “I’m told today the executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward played quite a big role in getting this deal over the line in the structure of the deal and putting it to the owners to make sure they could sanction that deal.
“On the emotional side, is the role that Sir Alex Ferguson played in making sure Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United.
“That emotional phone call last week to tell Ronaldo to get back to United. He’s acknowledged that in his Instagram post and he’s talked about his never-ending love for United.
“Right at the end, ‘P.S. Sir Alex this one is for you.'”
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As Sheth referred to, Ronaldo wrote a lengthy Instagram message to celebrate his return to Manchester and referred to the many memories he made in his previous six-year spell at the club.
“Everyone who knows me, knows about my never ending love for Manchester United,” the Portugal captain wrote.
“The years I spent in this club were absolutely amazing and the path we’ve made together is written in gold letters in the history of this great and amazing institution.
“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 per cent 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…”
Raphael Varane, another summer signing for United who was team-mates with Ronaldo at Real Madrid, is delighted to welcome the 36-year-old into the dressing room.
“I am very happy,” Varane said. “He’s a legend and all players can learn when you play with him. It’s a great help for all players, for all young players, and of course he never stops scoring goals, so he will help the team.”
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