On June 12th 2009, Manchester United accepted a world record £80 million bid from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.
The transfer for the 24-year-old subsequently went through at the beginning of the following July among huge fanfare when Ronaldo was presented in front of a full-capacity Bernabeu stadium.
Ronaldo’s transfer beat Real’s own world record which they had re-broken that summer after Kaka joined from AC Milan for £56 million, however their acquisition of Zinedine Zidane from Juventus had stood for eight years prior to 2009.
Ronaldo had been targeted by Real for a long-period of time and the Portuguese international had a verbal agreement to join his boyhood club by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, after the Scot turned down an approach from Madrid the summer before.
Ronaldo had been at United since 2003 after signing as a teenager from Sporting Lisbon and went on to score 118 goals at Old Trafford in just 292 appearances.
The transfer unsurprisingly caught headlines across Europe, with many sporting newspapers criticising the fee involved for the deal; Italian publication branded the transfer unfair and called Real ‘mad’, whereas Spanish papers AS and El Pais criticised club president Florentino Perez who sanctioned the transfer in times of financial crisis in Spain.
In Ronaldo’s eight years in Madrid he has become their all-time top scorer surpassing the great Alfredo Di Stefano and has helped his side win two La Liga titles, two Copa Del Reys, two FIFA World Club Cups and at the end of last season scored twice in Real’s Champions League final win over Juventus, that his third European triumph since joining the club.
Ronaldo has also secured three Balon D’Ors in his time at Madrid and is hotly tipped to win his fourth and fifth overall this year.
If you have a spare 35 minutes, here are Ronaldo’s first 400 goals for Real Madrid: