Ronaldo revels in Real welcome
By Juliette Ferrington
BBC Five Live in Madrid
As official presentations go, this was “mega crack”, a new phrase in the Spanish vocabulary that summed Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
The Portuguese star, signed from Manchester United for a world record £80m, was the third new signing to be presented to Real’s fans since Florentino Perez returned to the club’s presidency to unleash a new “galacticos” era.
Pity the poor guy who is next. It was an extravaganza of the highest order – memorable, magical, and mesmerising. There was barely an empty seat the in the 80,354 capacity house.
The world’s most expensive footballer is a popular man and an idol to the tens of thousands who had queued all day in 32C degree heat to witness his shirt presentation.
What some of them lacked in ball skills they more than made up with their suntanned bodies. Others draped themselves in the Real Madrid flag.
A bit of badge kissing is obligatory at these kind of events
There were even a few Man Utd shirts amongst the masses. And when you asked them why they waited so long, they all gave the same answer: “Cristiano is best.”
Kaka’s presentation the week before was a distant memory, dwarfed by the scale of Ronaldo’s reception.
Not only did you need a passport to get into the country, you needed a passport to get into the ground – and that was an experience in itself.
Fans couldn’t get through the turnstiles quickly enough once the gates opened, and they tussled with each other, desperate to grab the best seats.
Others clambered over the railings, running down the steps to make sure they were as close to proceedings as possible.
It was more like a rock concert then player presentation. Big screens, flashing lights, and the tiers of the Bernabeu full to capacity.
Never mind what Ronaldo’s mum Dolores was wearing, his prime-time presentation had the nation captivated.
The Portuguese maestro was all smiles – some of them nervous ones – as he made his way from the tunnel to the stage.
Ronaldo wows Bernabeu crowd
Applauding his new football family with every step, he told them “I have made my childhood dream a reality”, before treating them to some ball-juggling skills.
One fan managed to break through the security cordon and hug him.
Others tried to chase him down the tunnel, leading to tougher restraining tactics being deployed. And that was the last we saw of him as the masses made their way back outside into the Madrid evening.
Ronaldo’s presentation couldn’t have been any more “galacticos” – a welcoming ceremony laid on by the world’s biggest-spending club to show off the world’s most expensive player. Truly “mega crack”.