Ed Woodwards key role in Cristiano Ronaldo transfer ahead of Man Utd departure

Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return

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After originally signing for Manchester United in 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo has re-signed for the Red Devils 18 years later – and a figure that has been seen as a villain by the club’s fans had a big part to play in the deal.

Manchester United announced the sensational homecoming of Cristiano Ronaldo to kick off Deadline Day, as the Portuguese star returned after 12 years away from Old Trafford.

Ronaldo left United in 2009 to join Real Madrid and has since established himself as one of the greatest of all time.

Despite returning at the age of 36, Ronaldo was Serie A top goal scorer last season, pipping Romelu Lukaku to the award, and re-joins United in a deal worth £25million.

Ed Woodward will be stepping down from his position as executive vice-chairman at the end of 2021, but played a key role in signing Ronaldo, offering the greatest parting gift.

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United announced in April that Woodward would step down from his role at the end of 2021, following a tremendous backlash from their decision to join the European Super League.

Whereas Woodward decided to step down, Joel Glazer made a promise to fans that they’d invest in world-class players and back United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to send the Red Devils back to greatness.

This promise has certainly been followed up with the signing of Ronaldo, but Woodward played a big part as Dharmesh Sheth revealed on Sky Sports.

The reporter said: “Ed Woodward played quite a big role in getting this deal over the line in the structure of the deal, and then putting it to the owners to make sure they could sanction the deal.” 

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Woodward has received a lot of criticism over the years and has even had his property attacked by the angriest of United supporters. 

However, ensuring that the deal to re-sign Ronaldo could get sanctioned is surely a good way to win back the fanbase, even if it is only temporarily.

Woodward’s efforts were also assisted by legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been labelled as “my father in football” by Ronaldo himself.

Sheth also revealed on Sky Sports about the emotional role that Ferguson played in the deal, as he said: “The role that Sir Alex Ferguson played with that emotional phone call is well publicised now that told Cristiano Ronaldo to get back to Manchester United.

“Ronaldo has acknowledged that in his Instagram post, speaking about his love for United being never ending and that’s why he returned. 

“Right at the end [of the post] he said Sir Alex, this one’s for you.”

Ronaldo was always linked with a return to Old Trafford, but it seemed impossible with the star still being so influential in both Spain and Italy, performing close to his peak despite being 36.

However, as Ronaldo entered the final year of his contract, Juventus were reluctant to lose a player that originally cost them €100m (£88m) for free and set a £25m price-tag for the forward.

The Old Lady also wanted to save on his mammoth €31m-a-year salary (£25.5m) meaning that the deal to join United will put the £50m better off than if the player had stayed for an extra year.

Juventus have now re-signed Moise Kean from Everton to replace Ronaldo and will be hoping to improve on their disappointing finish from last season, and challenge for the Serie A once more.

United will also hope that Ronaldo can springboard them to the Premier League title, ending their eight-year drought for league success and denying current champions and rivals Manchester City in the process.

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