Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return
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Manchester United can compete with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title this season after signing Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s the opinion of Gary Neville, who believes Ronaldo’s arrival will give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side “a temporary shot in the arm”.
Ronaldo is poised to re-join United after the club agreed personal terms with the Portuguese forward and a fee in principle with Juventus.
United have agreed to pay Juventus an initial £12.85million (€15m) with another £6.86m (€8m) in add-ons, while Ronaldo will sign a two-year contract at Old Trafford.
The 36-year-old forward, who was originally negotiating with Manchester City, will undergo a medical in Portugal ahead of his country’s upcoming international fixtures and will then be eligible to play for the club after the international break.
Having scored 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009, United know what to expect from him – and Neville is excited by his arrival.
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“This is one of the most special players that has ever lived – forget Manchester United, it’s one of the greats of all time,” he said on the Sky Sports’ Transfer show.
“I said the other day United should be in for [Harry] Kane if he was available, or [Erling] Haaland, these types of players.
“To get above Manchester City and Chelsea, they’re going to have to do something big, and this could give them a temporary shot in the arm to get them right up there this year.”
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Ronaldo joins Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in Solskjaer’s squad for the 2021/22 season and Neville thinks they now have to be considered real contenders for the title.
“I was a little bit fearful watching Chelsea last weekend, knowing City are going to be strong, Liverpool have [Virgil] van Dijk back, that United could improve but finish in a lower position,” he said.
“But this news gives me more hope that they can have a great season.”
Ronaldo has won seven league titles during his career – three of which came with United – and will be aiming for an eighth this season.
Having developed from a winger to a centre-forward, Ronaldo is a different type of player from his previous spell at Old Trafford.
He scored 29 goals in 33 Serie A appearances last season and Neville is backing him to continue his form in front of goal.
“Ronaldo will be coming to win trophies, personal accolades, set the Premier League on fire,” he added.
“It is a different Ronaldo, everyone expected that. But he is a number nine, someone who still has that burst over short distances, he makes great runs inside the box, has anticipation of where the ball’s going to drop, and he gives United something they need.”
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