Cristiano Ronaldo is heading back to Manchester United, the team that turned him into a global superstar.
In a fast-moving deal that stunned the world of soccer, Ronaldo secured a return to Old Trafford on Friday — a day after telling Juventus he no longer wanted to play for the Italian club.
“Welcome back, Cristiano,” read a tweet posted by United. Within minutes, the club’s official website had crashed.
Ronaldo is 36 years old, a completely different player to the skinny, outrageously skillful 17-year-old winger who first arrived at United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 with a box of tricks but little end product. In the following six years, he scored 118 goals in 292 appearances and swiftly became one of the most fearsome strikers in the world, winning the first of his five FIFA world player of the year awards.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the current Man United manager, knows that all too well. He was once a teammate of Ronaldo.
“He is the greatest player of all time, definitely,” Solskjaer said Friday after Ronaldo’s return was sealed.