In the latest Manchester is Red podcast, Dominic Booth was joined by Rich Fay and United chief writer Samuel Luckhurst as they discussed all things United- including the Wolves performance on Sunday and, of course, Ronaldo’s eagerly anticipated return.
SL: “It was the most seismic transfer story in United’s history. Whether it’s as much of a success as other United transfers remains to be seen of course, but just for the sheer romantic element of Ronaldo coming back to United because they did gazump City.
“They moved because he was certain to join City. As of Friday morning, it was a remarkable story that went from 0-100mph in a matter of seconds.
“Certainly when I was made aware of this happening, I thought, no chance. I think the words I used to my contact was ‘No, unless you know something more than me’ and fortunately they did. Then another contact got in touch to say they think United are trying to do something with Ronaldo.
“We now know why Solskjaer talked it up as much as he did. Rather than knocking it down, he talked about how Bruno Fernandes was in touch with him (Ronaldo) trying to turn his head and persuade him to join United.”
“Then the Ferguson line came in about half an hour later and was by far and away the most emotionally charged.
“Having been confident that Ronaldo was joining City three hours earlier, I was now very confident he was going to be joining United. Harry Kane and Charlie Kane (Harry Kane’s agent) in particular probably sat back and looked on in awe at what Jorge Mendes can do in less than 12 hours effectively because that is how long it took.
“It is pretty remarkable that here we are now eight-and-a-half years on nearly from Ferguson starting his retirement but he is still making these key interventions that evoke memories of him getting on the motorbike in Paris and meeting Eric Cantona and convincing him to stay at Man United.
“Also with Ronaldo in 2006 when he went out and visited him and convinced him to stay after the red card incident with Rooney.
“There are very few footballers on the planet that Ferguson would drop anything for and embark on this charm offensive and Ronaldo is one of them. It made for a pretty sensational and frantic Friday.”
RF: “It would’ve been the ultimate bad luck for United if your club legend goes to your biggest rivals. It was an opportunity too good to miss and Solskjaer knew that himself. For United, it’s Ronaldo.
“They didn’t need him, but you can’t miss that sort of opportunity and that’s been United’s stance on these types of players.”
“If a world class player comes available United need to be in for them. United had to be in the market. He’s not the player United needed, but it is going to be a hell of a rollercoaster journey this season and you just have to embark on it.
“City won the league with Otamendi and Zinchenko playing most weeks- you can win the league with vulnerabilities in your squad and I think United need to embrace what they have in the squad. United have signed Ronaldo. How? How has that happened?”
It is looking likely Ronaldo’s first game back will come after the international break, in the Premier League home tie against Newcastle. After 12 long years, the wait is finally over- Cristiano Ronaldo will put the United kit on once again.
*How do you think Ronaldo will do at United? Follow Dominic Booth, Rich Fay, our chief United writer Samuel Luckhurst and our new United trends writer Anil Kandola and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.*