MANCHESTER, ENGLAND —
Manchester United have completed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus on a two-year deal, the Premier League side confirmed on Tuesday, as the Portuguese forward returns to the club where he won eight major trophies from 2003-2009.
United announced that they had agreed a deal with Juventus to bring the 36-year-old back to Manchester last week, with the transfer now complete after Ronaldo passed a medical, secured a visa and agreed personal terms.
The transfer fee agreed was 15 million euros (US$17.74 million) plus eight million euros in performance-related add-ons.
“Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday,” Ronaldo said in a statement.
“I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again.”
Ronaldo is set to join up with the squad after the international break and could make his first start on Sept. 11 when they host Newcastle United if he returns unscathed from his duties with Portugal.
Ronaldo was signed by Juventus in 2018 for 100 million euros from Real Madrid in the hope he could help the Italian team secure their first Champions League title since 1996.
While that goal never came to fruition, Ronaldo leaves Turin with 101 goals, two league titles and a Coppa Italia triumph.
He informed Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri that he wanted to leave the club last week. The Serie A club confirmed his departure earlier on Tuesday.
Media reports in Italy and England said the forward’s agent, Jorge Mendes, had agreed personal terms with Premier League champions Manchester City.
But in the end it was United who secured his services, instigating much excitement around the club.
“You run out of words to describe Cristiano. He is not only a marvelous player, but also a great human being,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
“To have the desire and the ability to play at the top level for such a long period requires a very special person.”
United goalkeeper David de Gea said it would be a “dream” to have Ronaldo back at the club. Former captain Roy Keane said the 36-year-old is a “born winner.”
Ronaldo spent six seasons at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009, where he won the Ballon d’Or as the world’s best player in 2008 alongside his team accolades, before sealing a then world record 80 million pounds ($110.24 million) move to Real Madrid.
During his first spell in Manchester he scored 118 goals and won the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2007-08 season, the year Ronaldo helped United claim their last Champions League title.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar / Peter Rutherford)
Garnacho on target as United beats Crystal Palace in League Cup defence
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Seven months after lifting the trophy, Manchester United made a successful start to its defense of the English League Cup on Tuesday by beating Crystal Palace 3-0.
Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro fired the holders into a 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford and Anthony Martial added a third after the break in the third-round match.
It is now back-to-back wins for Erik ten Hag’s team, which has endured a disappointing start to the season.
The dominant performance against an understrength Palace followed Saturday’s narrow victory at Burnley and will give United fans hope the team has turned its form around.
“The mood is always good, but of course when you are not winning at United there is disappointment, and there is frustration, but the togetherness is always there,” Ten Hag said. “We know we are not now in the position where we want to be. So we have to build up, we have to catch up and then you have to go from game to game, working on the process and working on the results. Don’t get too far ahead.”
The League Cup ranks fourth among English soccer’s most important trophies. But Ten Hag still savored last season’s success.
Victory against Newcastle in February’s final at Wembley Stadium ended the club’s six-year wait for a trophy and saw Ten Hag deliver silverware in his first season at the club. He went on to also reach the FA Cup final, only to lose to Manchester City, and also guided United back into the Champions League to mark an impressive campaign.
Things have not gone so well this term, with his team losing four out of five games before beating Burnley 1-0.
This latest victory was far more convincing, even if Palace benched regular starters Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Joachim Anderson and was also without forward Odsonne Edouard.
Ten Hag also made changes with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund on the bench and Christian Eriksen absent.
Mason Mount, however, made his first appearance since Aug. 19 after returning from an injury.
Garnacho fired United ahead in the 21st minute after converting Diogo Dalot’s cutback in the box.
His low shot had too much power for Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had only just come on as a substitute for the injured Dean Henderson.
Johnstone was tested again moments later when Dalot blasted an effort from an angle, which the keeper blocked.
He was beaten again, however, in the 27th, this time by Casemiro, who headed in Mount’s corner to double United’s lead.
Martial added a third 10 minutes into the second half when firing across goal after meeting Casemiro’s looping ball to the far post.
United plays Palace again in the Premier League on Saturday and the Londoners showed their threat when twice forcing saves from ‘keeper Andre Onana later in the match. But manager Roy Hodgson did not sound confident about securing a different outcome when the teams next meet.
“We are going to have to become a totally different team in the way we approach the game and the way we play the game,” he said.
Third-division Exeter produced a shock 1-0 win against Luton to knock the Premier League club out of the competition. Luton made 10 changes from the team that picked up its first topflight point of the season against Wolverhampton on Saturday, but the result will still go down as a big upset. Demetri Mitchell scored the winner in the 83rd, but Exeter had to see out the game with 10 men after he was sent off in the 88th.
Wolverhampton was also eliminated after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at second-division Ipswich. Hwang Hee-Chan and Toti Gomes had seemingly put the visitors on course for the next round after goals inside the first 15 minutes. But Omari Hutchinson, Freddie Ladapo and Jack Taylor sealed a comeback win for Ipswich.
Burnley is still waiting for its first win in the league this season, but it is powering on in the cup after a 4-0 win against Salford City, the fourth division club co-owned by Manchester United greats including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough beat Bradford 2-0 and Port Vale won 2-1 against Sutton United.
Fourth-division Mansfield beat third-division Peterborough 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Lucas Akins’ penalty to even the score in the 93rd had sent the game to a shootout.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
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