Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his “never ending love for Manchester United” after completing a €15 million ($17.7m) move back to the English Premier League club from Juventus.
The 36-year-old, who scored 118 goals in 292 appearances in his first spell at United before joining Real Madrid for a then world record €94m in 2009, is now back in Manchester for a second stint.
After three seasons in Italy — where he scored 81 goals in 98 Serie A games and won the league title twice — Ronaldo made it clear in recent weeks that he was ready for a new challenge.
A stunning move to Manchester City seemed on the cards before United stepped in to ensure that the prolific attacker would be wearing red, and not the rival sky blue, this season.
Ronaldo said on Wednesday that “it's like a dream come true” to have returned to Old Trafford and also made a point of dedicating the move to his old manager Alex Ferguson.
“Everyone who knows me, knows about my never ending love for Manchester United,” said in a statement posted on Instagram. “The years I spent in this club where 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.”
He went on to talk about his “special connection” with the club and how more success will soon be on the way, “you have my word” he added. “I'm back where I belong. Let's make it happen once again.”
Ronaldo also made a point of ending his statement with the message: “PS — Sir Alex, this one is for you …”
During his first stint at United, between 2003 and 2009, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, and the 2008 Champions League — the same year he won the first of his five Ballon d'Ors.
He is expected to make his second United debut when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side take on Newcastle United at home on September 11.
United have already signed Ronaldo's former Real Madrid teammate Raphael Varane to bolster their defence and splashed out £73m to bring 21-year-old England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund in their quest to win a first Premier League title since 2013.
The Red Devils have taken seven points from their opening three Premier League games to sit two points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur.