Gary Lineker details surprise role in Man Utd's signing of Cristiano Ronaldo

Man Utd secured an incredible return for the Portuguese icon back in 2021.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Gary Lineker has revealed his surprise role in Manchester United's second signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portuguese legend Ronaldo made a sensational return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021, following the agreement of a £20million deal with Juventus. The striker made his name with the Reds as a youngster before leaving for Real Madrid 12 years prior, where he became one of the world's greatest players.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

United's late move for Ronaldo was even more intriguing given he had been linked with a move to their fierce rivals, Manchester City. But a call from Sir Alex Ferguson and contact with former teammates convinced him that United was the place to go and it was in Lineker's back garden that the deal was confirmed to then-chief executive Ed Woodward.

"Ed is a very good friend, he's a lovely guy, genuinely a lovely guy," Lineker told The Rest is Football podcast. "Cristiano Ronaldo was signed when Ed Woodward was in my back garden. That was amazing. He came over and we had a lunch planned. I was cooking for a few people, Ed being one of them. He was on the phone when he arrived, and he was going 'I'm trying to secure the Cristiano Ronaldo deal'.

"At that point it was looking like he was going to Manchester City. And then he [Ed] got the confirmation call. I've got a picture of him sat in a chair at the back of the garden, doing the deal."

Ronaldo's return was confirmed at the end of August that year and the forward was United's top goalscorer in his first campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then Ralf Rangnick. His total of 24 was more than double anyone else but a sixth-placed Premier League finish ensured no European football.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Erik ten Hag arrived the following summer and his relationship with Ronaldo deteriorated amid ongoing discipline issues. The forward was eventually released after an explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he admitted there was no respect for his manager.

Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr in December 2022 and remains there now. The 38-year-old has 44 goals in 50 appearances for the Saudi Pro League side.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.