CRISTIANO RONALDO was convinced to make a stunning return to Old Trafford after a late intervention from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former Manchester United boss snatched him out of the hands of cross-town rivals Manchester City in a £480,000-a-week deal after an emotional conversation with him yesterday morning.
Portuguese team-mate Bruno Fernandes had already called him the night before to try and talk him into joining him back at Old Trafford.
The combination of the two convinced him to end negotiations with Etihad chiefs as United played a dramatic late hand to trump City.
United legend Rio Ferdinand confirmed: “Sir Alex – massive part. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Alex have got a bond that very players get to have in their career with a manager.
“There was no way Cristiano Ronaldo would be coming to Man United without speaking to Sir Alex Ferguson. Simple as that.”
United’s talisman Fernandes added: “Agent Bruno? Welcome back home @Cristiano”
Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward and his right-hand man Matt Judge did the incredible deal with Juventus and Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes.
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They have paid £12.85million up front to the Serie A giants with £6.85million in add-ons based on appearances and success.
The 36-year-old has signed a two-year deal worth around £480,000 a week.
The deal was triggered after Ronaldo told Juventus boss Max Allegri that he no longer wanted to play for the club and was therefore taken out of the squad for today’s home game with Empoli.
He then flew to Lisbon to have his medical ahead of joining up with his Portuguese teammates on international duty.
Ronaldo posted on Instagram: “I gave my heart and soul for Juventus and I’ll always love the city of Turin until my final days.
"We can all look back and realise we achieved great thing, not all that we wanted, but still, we wrote a pretty beautiful story together.”
Earlier in the day at 1:15pm, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it public that they wanted Ronaldo back saying: “I didn’t think Cristiano was going to leave Juventus.
"But if ever he is going to move away from Juventus he knows we are here.
“We’ve always had a good communication, Bruno has been talking to him as well.
"He knows how we feel about him. He is a legend of this club, the greatest players of all time if you ask me.”
Then just before 5pm United announced that the deal had been done and that:
"Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester.”
The deal is subject to personal terms, a visa and medical, but Ronaldo could make his second United debut in the Premier League against Newcastle at Old Trafford on September 11.
Ex-United captain Ferdinand, who lifted the Champions League alongside Ronaldo in 2008, added: “I’ve probably spoken to Cristiano and exchanged messages more in the last 24 hours than I have since he left.
“On Thursday night I was sat on the stairs in my house shaking because I know what this meant to the football club and for his legacy. I know he’s happy.
“It’s a great deal. Seriously, wow. When the Man United hierarchy needed to move there was no looking back. They performed perfectly at every step.
“Ronaldo coming to town is the hottest ticket. I don’t care where you look – in Europe or the world.
"The hottest ticket is Old Trafford. That’s what Ronaldo brings.
“He is bigger than any player or sportsman on this planet – bar none. He’s up there with the best but he is the biggest. There’s no doubts about that.
“There will be a new demographic of fan who will support the club now.
"It’s bigger than him coming and being a success on the pitch. He will get you 25-30 goals this season.
“He outscored Lukaku who went to Chelsea for £97million last year in Serie A so that tells you the levels he is still playing at.
"What he could do for Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and (Jadon) Sancho alone off the pitch is worth bringing.”
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