Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is happy to be the most expensive player in the world.
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is happy to be the most expensive player in the world.

Ronaldo unveiled in glitzy affair

80,000 Real Madrid fans turn out to welcome the world's most expensive player at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It was grandiose and it was surreal. A rock concert setting to unveil the world's most expensive player and the new symbol of recently re-elected club president Florentine Perez's 'Galacticos' resurrection. After claiming this week that Real Madrid's 80 million (Dh477m) cheque to Manchester United represented a "fair price" for his services, Fifa World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo was finally presented to 80,000 Los Blancos fans yesterday evening.

Real and Perez were determined to show off their new man. They have to. The Ronaldo publicity machine has a huge role to play in raising the funds needed to repay the club's astronomical bank loans which have financed its unbelievable spending spree. The Bernabeu pitch was transformed into a catwalk as the club's new No 9 lapped up the rapturous adulation. "I am very happy to be here," he confessed.

"A childhood dream has come true for me, to come to Real Madrid. It's incredible that the stadium is full just for me." Watched by the legendary Alfredo di Stefano, Ronaldo kissed the badge on his shirt as a selection of his goals were screened on a giant screen in the centre of the field. After 50,000 turned out to welcome Brazilian playmaker Kaka last week, the huge throng of Ronaldo fans even surpassed the 70,000 who watched Diego Maradona's arrival at Napoli in 1984. They converged to witness the second phase of Perez's "spectacular sporting project". It's a plan with a single objective: to reclaim domestic and European bragging rights from archrivals Barcelona.

Indeed, nobody argued as Ronaldo cowed: "It's going to be a magnificent competition in Spain this year." Meanwhile, AC Milan - besieged by 300 fans protesting their summer transfer market inactivity yesterday - have completed the signing of the United States defender Oguchi Onyewu from Standard Liege. The Belgian passport holder, who excelled at the recent Confederations Cup, moves to the San Siro on a free transfer.

Manchester United and Barcelona goalkeepers Ben Foster and Victor Valdes have both signed extensions to their existing deals at Old Trafford and the Nou Camp. Foster, 26, has signed until 2013 and is expected to compete with Edwin Van der Sar next season in what is likely to be the Dutchman's last before retirement. Valdes is now contracted to the reigning Primera Liga and European champions until 2014.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Real Madrid players Angel Di Maria, left, Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Marcelo attend a training session at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training grounds outside Madrid on April 22, 2014. Real Madrid will play Bayern Munich in a Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg match in Madrid on Wednesday. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

In pictures: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale train with Real Madrid

A well-rested Real Madrid side trains on Tuesday ahead of their Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg match against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. Stadnouts Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are both expected to be in action at the Bernabeu.

 Chelsea players argue with Atletico Madrid during their scoreless draw in the Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday. Gerard Julien / AFP / April 22, 2014

In pictures: Chelsea lock horns with Atletico in scoreless Champions League draw

Chelsea held Atletico Madrid scoreless at home on Tuesday as the two will head to Stamford Bridge for a winner-take-all second leg.

 Walter Zenga wants his Al Jazira side to continue building on the recent positive results they have had in Asian Champions League, even though they have already qualified for the knockout stage. Karim Jaafar / AFP

Walter Zenga aims for Al Jazira to carry momentum in Asian Champions League

The Al Jazira coach Walter Zenga is set to field his strongest line-up as the UAE club seek to topple Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab as leaders of Group A.

 Sourav Ganguly, left, and Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman of RPG Enterprises, pose with footballs during a press conference to announce their ownership of the Kolkata franchise in the upcoming Indian Super League on April 14, 2014. Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP

Indian Super League high on ambition, short-seeming on the football

While a number of high-profile figures are throwing in with the Indian Super League hoping to make a splash in world football, many local voices are arguing the foundation for the tournament is shaky.

 Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, left, and Gareth Bale share a laugh during training on Tuesday. Both players will be fit for Wednesday night’s Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg against Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu. Chema Moya / EPA

Rested Real Madrid side hope to catch Bayern Munich on a slide

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will be fit for Real Madrid in Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg match while the holders are trying to recover from a Bundesliga slump.

 Toni Kroos of Bayern Munich will lead his team against Real Madrid in a Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg match on Wednesday night. Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Toni Kroos is a wanted man at Bayern Munich

Kroos’s talks with Bayern over renewing a contract have stalled while Manchester United, and Wednesday night’s opponents, Real Madrid, are among those keen to offer him an alternative place of work, writes Ian Hawkey.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National