Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ronaldo: This Was Childhood Dream

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ronaldo: This Was Childhood Dream

Article excerpt

CRISTIANO Ronaldo fulfilled a "childhood dream" as he was unveiled as a Real Madrid player in front of a packed Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

The Portuguese forward, who has been handed the number nine jersey, was greeted by Alfredo di Stefano - considered the greatest player to have worn that particular shirt - Eusebio and Florentino Perez, the club president whose re-election prompted Ronaldo's pounds 80m signing from Manchester United.

"I am just so happy to be here," he said to a rapturous reception from the gathered thousands. "For me, I have made my childhood dream a reality, which was nothing less than playing for Real Madrid. I didn't expect a jam-packed stadium - this is truly impressive."

Perez claimed last night's events "might not have a precedent".

"We are very satisfied to know that you made the firm decision to play for Real Madrid," Perez said.

He told Ronaldo what to expect from his new adoring fans, adding: "They will ask of you the very best, but will also give you their all."

Ronaldo is the third player to be unveiled by Madrid since Perez returned to the presidency at the start of June, following in the footsteps of Kaka and Raul Albiol.

Brazil playmaker Kaka was a reported pounds 56m signing from AC Milan, while Spain centre-back Albiol was brought in from Valencia for a fee believed to be around pounds 13m.

Madrid have also agreed a deal with Lyon for their striker Karim Benzema for an initial fee of pounds 30m, a transfer that takes the Spanish giants' summer spending close to the pounds 200m mark.

Last night's attendance at the Bern-abeswamped the estimated 55,000 that watched Kaka's unveiling here last Tuesday, and is believed to be the biggest turnout for a presentation since a reported 75,000 saw the arrival of Diego Maradona at Napoli from Barcelona in 1984. …

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