On 11 June 2009, a lengthy transfer saga reached its conclusion when Manchester United accepted Real Madrid’s £80M offer for winger Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Spanish team had been pursuing the 24-year old Ronaldo, the 2008 Ballon d’Or winner and FIFA World Player of the Year, since the previous summer. After winning a third consecutive league title in 2009, Ronaldo appeared to be both ready and willing to leave.
Real Madrid’s increased desire to sign him coincided with the return of Florentino Pérez as club president. Pérez had already embarked on a second Galactico campaign, signing midfielder Kaká from AC Milan just a day earlier for what was briefly the club’s record signing fee of £56M. But they shattered that mark for Ronaldo, setting a world-record transfer fee with their offer of £80M.