“Swallow a whale”: the net effect of Ronaldo’s return

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Cristiano Ronaldo will play Manchester United for the first time in 12 years on Saturday in a game fans will see as a fun comeback to Old Trafford Stadium.

The Portuguese striker’s transfer came after a sentimental appeal from United heroes, including former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, to refuse to transfer to local rivals Manchester City.

But behind the scenes, clubs need to make sure the deal is commercially meaningful and buy top players to make Ronaldo, 36, the best football player in the English Premier League. I broke the strategy.

Club insiders liken the signing to “swallow a whale.” Ronaldo, along with Lionel Messi, is considered the greatest player of his generation and will cost at least £ 60million, or around 5% of United’s projected earnings over the next two years.

Relatives of club officials say you can’t get your money back just by selling jerseys or sponsoring contracts.

Instead, leaders enjoy more intangible benefits. This includes the belief that Ronaldo is raising standards within the squad and exciting fans who are protesting the club’s involvement. Unlucky project of the European Super League and attract a new generation of supporters around the world.

Cristiano Ronaldo poses in a Manchester United shirt after signing with the club in August © Manchester United / Getty Images

The club’s search committee, outgoing vice president Ed Woodward, director of football John Martov, head of scouting Steve Brown, director of football negotiations Matt Judge. Manager Ole Gunnar Solkjaer also has the right to veto the possibility of signing.

The target list is determined months before the three-month summer transfer period, when most transfers take place.

It was the process signed by Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund and Raphaël Varane of Real Madrid this summer. The recruiting team will meet this month to discuss goals for next summer.

Ronaldo’s signing was much faster. His agent, Jorge Mendes, told United executives that the striker decided to leave Italian club Juventus on August 24, after a few weeks of provisional talks with several clubs. It was right.

Manchester City were already in a high-profile debate to sign that they had abandoned the Tottenham Hotspur goal. Harry Kane .. However, United rushed to negotiate an alternative deal with Citi, reached by Friday.

We have provided Juventus with a transfer fee of 15 million euros, amortized over five years, and a performance bonus of up to 8 million euros. A slightly lower salary package than Ronaldo’s net annual net of € 31million at Juventus has been agreed on a two-year contract with the possibility of extending it for one year.

A person close to the Manchester City leader said Juventus have closed negotiations with Ronaldo to claim transfer fees. “If Citi were really serious about signing him, United wouldn’t have snuffed,” he said. “It really resulted in a political marriage. No one else really wanted it.

However, United have shown that they are one of the few clubs that can afford Ronaldo. With the fans returning to the stadium, they aim to be one of the richest footballers in the world with a pre-pandemic annual income of over £ 600million.

© Carl Recine / Action Images / Reuters

Most of this income is stable. Old Trafford sells out every season thanks to advanced season ticket sales and hospitality. Broadcast transactions are centralized by the Premier League and UEFA European Football Federation.

Ronaldo’s contract, like the contracts of other United players, includes “downside prevention” such as pay cuts if a team fails to qualify for the Champions League. The Champions League is the most prestigious club tournament in Europe, with 2 billion euros shared between participating clubs.

According to consultancy firm KPMG, Ronaldo has helped boost Juventus’ income, with annual sponsorship income for Italian clubs dropping from € 143m to € 175m over three years.

United, who had a trade turnover of £ 279million in 2020, cannot expect the same effect immediately. The club have already secured the biggest deals approved, including: 5 years of jersey sponsorship German tech company TeamViewer, announced in March, is worth € 275 million.

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While the majority of revenue from the sale of replica jerseys comes from manufacturer Adidas, the club is increasing the profit margin from its sale through the official site operated by US online retailer Fanatics.

“When Juventus acquired Ronaldo, they started with a significantly lower commercial revenue base,” said Andrea Sartori, global sports manager at KPMG. “United are so advanced that the marginal benefits are not very high. “

But the strikers are helping the club’s business. United cites the reach of social media to champion the value of commerce during a pandemic, with Ronaldo having the world’s largest Instagram, after 340 million.

His Stardust could also draw new attention to clubs that haven’t won the two biggest tournaments since 2013, the Premier League or the Champions League.

Although Ronaldo should be able to push United back in the fight for these awards, club executives believe Ronaldo will attract a young and international audience as well, which will benefit the club over the next few years. Can bring.

“From a business point of view, Manchester United’s acquisition of Ronaldo is like putting the best fuel in the fastest car, but that’s not why we did it,” he said. he declared. Someone who knew directly said. Help the young team members and pull your arms out onto the pitch. “

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