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.

@Email:emegson@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Seiichi Shimomura, centre, is part of a Japan squad that is the gold standard for sides such as the UAE, here in a Asian Five Nations rugby match at Dubai on May 10, 2013 and Singapore aspire to reach. Marwan Naamani / AFP

UAE and Singapore are rugby teams with a similar tale to tell

The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely? Well, maybe not for much longer.

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 Sharjah Cricket Stadium's colorful past was never like this – the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils was loud, raucous and commerical. Pawan Singh / The National

No need for rose-coloured glasses when Sharjah Cricket Stadium host IPL

Sharjah still plays well as India's home away from home when it comes to big-time cricket, but the commercial overtones were in overdrive.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

 Mickael Barzalona riding Sudden Wonder, left, to victory in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket racecourse on April 17, 2014 in Newmarket, England. Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images

Godolphin boosted by performances of two fresh horses at Newmarket

Be Ready underwhelms in Craven Stakes during otherwise successful day for stables

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National