Cristiano Ronaldo and the English Premier League club Manchester United have reached an agreement that will bring Ronaldo back to a side on which he played from 2003 to 2009, the team announced.
The 36-year-old Ronaldo, who has played for the Italian club Juventus FC since 2018, had been rumored to be leaving for months.
The deal will need to be finalized by the transfer-window deadline of Aug. 31.
A transfer in soccer occurs when two clubs agree to move a player from one to the other. If the player is under contract, the club trying to secure his rights is usually expected to pay compensation — known as a transfer fee — to the other club.
A large portion of the transfer fee goes to a club owner, but a player, among others, can collect a portion of the fee as well. Specific transfer fees have not yet been agreed upon for Ronaldo, according to ESPN’s reporting.
Manchester United shares
were up 4.46% at midmorning Friday in the U.S.
Three years ago, when Ronaldo left Real Madrid to play for Juventus
Juventus, like Manchester United a publicly traded club, saw its shares up 1.18% after the news that Ronaldo could be transferred as early as Thursday. Juventus’s stock got a boost on news of Ronaldo’s transfer to the club in 2018, but most of those gains have dissipated. Juventus is owned by the Agnellis, a dynastic Italian industrial family behind the automobile manufacturer Fiat S.p.A.
Ronaldo posted on Instagram last week that any transfer talk and spreading of rumors about his potentially leaving Juventus were “disrespectful.”
Ronaldo is a five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, the award given annually to the top world footballer.
The Ronaldo move comes in the wake of fellow La Liga legend and longtime rival Lionel Messi’s recent departure from Spain’s FC Barcelona for the deep-pocketed French club Paris Saint-Germain. Brazilian star Neymar Jr. made that same move in 2017 for a record-setting transfer fee of $262 million, while Messi’s transfer was free after attempts to extend his career-long tenure at the Catalan club were vetoed on financial grounds by the Spanish league.
Ronaldo’s transfer fee would likely be lower than Neymar’s despite Ronaldo’s more accomplished career, because Neymar is a younger player.
While the two share a Feb. 5 birthday, Neymar, at 29, is seven years Ronaldo’s junior. Messi turned 34 in June.
“Manchester United is delighted to confirm that the club has reached agreement with Juventus for the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo, subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical,” the team said in a statement. “Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester.”
Ronaldo has earned at least $1 billion during his playing career. Messi is said to have been paid well more than a half-billion euros between 2017 and 2021 alone.