Cristiano Ronaldo signed in Gary Lineker's back garden
Much was made of the star's move in the summer transfer market, but when the Manchester United deal actually went through was less known, until now.
Ed Woodward may not be all Manchester United supporters’ favourite person but he has, at least, been responsible for bringing back one of the club’s legendary players. And it was, we're told, done and dusted in his neighbour's back garden.
Cristiano Ronaldo signs in Woodward’s back garden
As the end of the summer 2021 transfer window drew ever closer to its end, the signs were that one of the greatest attacking stars ever to have played the Beautiful Game would be making a move to his former club’s rivals. Fans from the red half of Manchester could not believe that their hero Ronaldo would return to the Premier League, following stints at Real Madrid and Juventus, in City’s sky blue colours. In the end, he didn’t join Pep Guardiola's champions, and as we are now more than aware, he did make a thunderous second coming at Old Trafford.
The details behind that decision by the player and his agent have been put down to a number of factors - including numerous calls made to the Portuguese frontman by influential United stalwarts - but when and where the agreement was finally made was less clear. Until now, it seems.
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Ronaldo's lawn signing
“I’ll put my cards on the table. Ed Woodward is a good friend of mine and lives next door.” Those were the remarks from former goal-getter, potato vender and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker.
“He signed Cristiano Ronaldo when he was in my garden. When he walked in he was on the phone to Jorge Mendes. I hope I'm not giving too much away,” Lineker continued on the MOTD Top 10 podcast.
“I have a fantastic picture of him sat on the phone to him which I might share one day with his permission.”
The signing of the 36-year old forward was confirmed to the world on 27 August in a deal worth just shy of £20 million ($27m) and he has already started to pay back the faith in him with some early goals. That said, and given United’s less than convincing performances in the early part of the season, some question marks remain over how manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can get the best out of him and the rest of the talented squad at his disposal.
Ronaldo a ‘no brainer’
While some observers have their doubts over the decision to bring Cristiano back, Lineker’s MOTD cohort, Alan Shearer, was sure about the sense behind it.
“Man United have not been challenging over the last few years,” arguably the greatest Premier League striker began. “They are viewed differently now with Ronaldo and rightly so. They are ready to challenge.
“Signing him was a no-brainer for Man Utd. They cannot lose in this situation. They sold Dan James for £25m and brought Ronaldo in for the same price.”
Will history prove him right? When will we see Gary’s photo? How many other signings have taken place in a neighbour's back garden? So many important questions…