Tuesday, June 11, 2013

11 June 2009 - That Kind Of Interest Would Turn My Head, Too

On 11 June 2009, a lengthy transfer saga reached its conclusion when Manchester United accepted Real Madrid's £80M offer for winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Spanish team had been pursuing the 24-year old Ronaldo, the 2008 Ballon d'Or winner and FIFA World Player of the Year, since the previous summer. Their interest was so overt that, in June 2008, Manchester United lodged a formal complaint with FIFA accusing Real Madrid of trying to unsettle him. And, after winning a third consecutive league title in 2009, Ronaldo appeared to be both ready and willing to leave.

Real Madrid's increased desire to sign him coincided with the return of Florentino Pérez as club president. The architect of the team's first Galactico period that saw the signing of expensive and high-profile players like Zinedine Zidane, Brazilian striker Ronaldo, and David Beckham, Pérez had already embarked on a second Galactico campaign, signing midfielder Kaká from AC Milan just a day earlier for what was briefly the club's record signing fee of £56M. But they shattered that mark for Ronaldo, setting a world-record transfer fee with their offer of £80M.

Since moving to Madrid, Ronaldo has been a prolific scorer, averaging over 50 goals a season in all competitions, including an incredible 60 goals in 2011-12. But while he continues to be individually successful, the trophies have not followed at quite the same pace, with only one La Liga title and one Copa del Rey in his four seasons there.

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