- Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United was sealed in Gary Lineker’s backyard.
- The former Barcelona player-turned-presenter says he was there when the deal was struck.
- “It was awesome,” he said.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational return to Manchester United this summer was sealed over the phone in the backyard of the former FC Barcelona player-turned-television presenter, Gary Lineker.
That’s according to the “Match of the Day” host himself, who says he was with United’s vice-chairman Ed Woodward at the time the Portuguese’s Old Trafford homecoming was agreed.
“Ed Woodward is a good friend of mine, he’s my neighbor,” Lineker said on the Match of the Day Top 10 podcast. “He signed Ronaldo when he was in my garden! It was awesome.”
Asked by co-host Alan Shearer if that meant he knew about the deal before anybody else, Lineker replied: “I knew when he walked in and he was on the phone to [Jorge] Mendes or someone – I hope I’m not giving too much away.”
Mendes is Ronaldo’s agent.
“I have a fantastic picture of [Woodward] sat on the phone to [Mendes] in my back garden which I might share one day with his permission,” added Lineker.
Ronaldo left Juventus to re-sign for United during the summer, 12 years after he first left the club to join Real Madrid in 2009.
Since returning to Manchester, the 36-year-old has been in sparkling form, scoring five times in seven matches in all competitions.
Despite his good form, however, he was omitted from United’s starting line-up against Everton on Saturday, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opting to give Edinson Cavani his first of the season instead.
United drew the match 1-1, prompting its former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles during his tenure as boss, to criticize Solskjaer for omitting Ronaldo.
“You should always start your best players,” the Scot told UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov as the pair chatted at Old Trafford.