x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Ronaldo presented to 80,000 Real fans

Cristiano Ronaldo fulfills a 'childhood dream' as he is officially presented as a Real Madrid player.

80,000 Real Madrid fans turned out to catch a glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was officially unveiled as a Real player at the Santiago Bernabau.
80,000 Real Madrid fans turned out to catch a glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was officially unveiled as a Real player at the Santiago Bernabau.

Cristiano Ronaldo fulfilled a "childhood dream" as he was unveiled as a Real Madrid player in front of a packed Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The Portuguese forward, who has been handed the number nine jersey, was greeted by Alfredo di Stefano ? considered the greatest player to have worn that particular shirt ? Eusebio and Florentino Perez, the club president whose re-election prompted Ronaldo's £80 million (Dh475m) signing from Manchester United. "I am just so happy to be here," he said to a rapturous reception from the gathered thousands. "For me, I have made my childhood dream a reality, which was nothing less than playing for Real Madrid. I didn't expect a jam-packed stadium, this is truly impressive." Perez claimed tonight's events "might not have a precedent". "We are very satisfied to know that you made the firm decision to play for Real Madrid," Perez said.

He told Ronaldo what to expect from his new adoring fans, adding: "They will ask of you the very best, but will also give you their all." Ronaldo is the third player to be unveiled by Real since Perez returned to the presidency at the start of June, following in the footsteps of Kaka and Raul Albiol. Brazil playmaker Kaka was a reported £56m signing from AC Milan, while Spain centre-back Albiol was brought in from Valencia for a fee believed to be around £13m. Real have also agreed a deal with Lyon for their striker Karim Benzema for an initial fee of £30m, a transfer that takes the Spanish giants' summer spending close to the £200 mark. Tonight's attendance at the Bernabeu swamped the estimated 55,000 that watched Kaka's unveiling here last Tuesday, and is believed to be the biggest turnout for a presentation since a reported 75,000 saw the arrival of Diego Maradona at Napoli from Barcelona in 1984.

Earlier Ronaldo, the reigning Fifa World Player of the Year, successfully completed his medical with Real after landing in the Spanish capital just after midday (3pm UAE). Carlos Diez, Real Madrid's medical chief said: "Ronaldo is in perfect condition and very eager to start the season as soon as possible." Ronaldo had already undergone initial medical tests with the Spanish giants while on holiday in Portugal last month, which the player claimed at the time had gone "perfectly". Diez added: "He has an extraordinary cardiac and lung capacity. We have complemented everything that we already did in Portugal and done all the specific tests. "Now we will be able to start working using an individual plan in order to improve his performance. "For him, it's a dream, and this dream starts to convert into reality from today." *PA Sport