Ronaldo will doubtless score more than the six goals Sanchez managed in 18 miserable months in Manchester. Manchester never felt like home for Sanchez whereas it was home to Ronaldo for six years.

“I’m coming home,” Ronaldo said after Real Madrid were drawn with Manchester United in the 2013 Champions League knockout stage. A homecoming seemed possible that year and United pulled on Ronaldo’s heartstrings on his Old Trafford return, the stadium compere announcing his name last. Ronaldo was startled and felt ‘shy’. He still scored the winner.

It seemed the United ship had sailed, though. As of this morning, Ronaldo seemed bound for Manchester – to City. Then Sir Alex Ferguson intervened and, once Ronaldo was aware of United’s interest, he rejected City. Ronaldo may regret selling his Alderley Edge abode in early 2019.

Ronaldo was not on United’s shortlist at the start of the summer as they expected him to see out his contract with Juventus. Once it became clear he was available, they reacted with alacrity.

How Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United happened


The Glazer family knew the seismic signing of Ronaldo would be the ultimate feel-good story in a year their treachery over the Super League provoked protests outside and inside Old Trafford. Ronaldo’s return is similar to the starry signing of Tom Brady for the Glazers’ NFL franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, last year. The Bucs won their first Super Bowl in 18 years in February.

Senior United sources say Ronaldo believes the club is building towards a new era of success, despite going more than four years without winning a trophy. Ronaldo won everything during his six years with United between 2003-09 but has ‘unfinished business’.