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CR7 completes return to Man U

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LONDON, Aug 31, (AP): Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to the future at Manchester United after a nod to the most influential figure of his soccer past. The five-time world player of the year completed his return to United on Tuesday after 12 years away, saying “I’m back where I belong. “History has been written in the past and history will be written once again!” the 36-year-old Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

“You have my word!” Ronaldo signed off his post by dedicating his return to Old Trafford to the man who first brought him to United in 2003 – when he was a skinny, supremely gifted 18-year-old winger – and turned him into a superstar. Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in United’s history, is thought to be among the club greats who helped to persuade Ronaldo to move back to United amid interest from crosstown rival Manchester City, which had been offered the Portugal forward by his agent. Ronaldo has previously called Ferguson “my father in sport.” An agreement was reached with Juventus over Ronaldo’s transfer on Friday, and one of soccer’s most stunning deals in years was completed on Tuesday – the final day of European soccer’s summer transfer window – after a medical examination. A fee of 15 million euros ($17.75 million) will be paid to Juventus over five years. That could be increased by 8 million euros ($9.5 million) depending on “specific performance objectives” achieved by Ronaldo, who has signed the two-year contract with the option to extend for a further year.

A title winner with Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo won the English Premier League three times with United but the club haven’t won the title since 2013. Ronaldo’s debut could come against Newcastle on Sept. 11, the day the Premier League resumes after the international break. With a striker not a priority until Ronaldo became available, United found themselves with a squad overloaded with attacking players. That has prompted the club to let right winger Daniel James leave, with the Wales international joining fellow Premier League team Leeds for a reported fee of 25 million pounds ($34.4 million). James came close to joining Leeds in 2019 before United made a late move to sign him. He played 74 games in all competitions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, scoring nine goals. A number of other teams were looking to reshape their squads on transfer deadline day, too. West Ham signed Croatia attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic on a five-year deal from CSKA Moscow to give the London club more options up front for a season when they will play in the Europa League. It comes two days after West Ham signed center back Kurt Zouma from Chelsea. Other completed deals saw Brighton buy left back Marc Cucurella from Spanish team Getafe and Wales defender Connor Roberts join Burnley from second-tier Swansea.

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