Two key men revealed as Man Utd eye ‘special dispensation’ for Ronaldo

Joe Williams
Ed Woodward Man Utd

Ed Woodward reportedly played a “big role” in Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Man Utd, while Sir Alex Ferguson made a phone call to the Portugal international.

The Red Devils confirmed on Friday that they had reached an agreement with Juventus over the the return of Ronaldo before they officially announced he had signed today.

Friday’s news sparked a festival in the away end at Molineux over the weekend with the Man Utd fans bringing cardboard cut-outs of their returning hero.

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Woodward has been a devisive figure at Man Utd in recent years with the executive vice-chairman coming in for plenty of stick over transfers and the running of the club.

However, Sky Sports News‘ Dharmesh Sheth has credited him with a “big role” in the deal to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.

Sheth said: “I’m told that Ed Woodward had a big role in this transfer. I’m told he structured the deal and ensured the owners could sanction that deal.

“Another person who played a part in this deal is an emotional one, it’s Sir Alex Ferguson. He made what’s not a famous phone call to Ronaldo last week to say ‘get back to Manchester United’.

“There’s a lot of debate about whether Ronaldo will get to keep his brand CR7 with the No 7 on the back of his shirt. Edinson Cavani is the current No 7 at Man United and you would need special dispensation from the Premier League to swap numbers once the season has started, unless Cavani leaves United – which us unlikely.

“But United are looking into the possibility of special dispensation so we could yet see Ronaldo with ‘Ronaldo 7’ on the back’. It will be interesting to see if they go ahead with the special dispensation and if it’s granted by the Premier League.”

Roy Keane, who was United captain when the club first signed Ronaldo in 2003, hailed Ronaldo’s return as “great news” but does not believe the shock transfer will help United beat Chelsea or Manchester City to the Premier League title.

“I think it’s great news for United, the fans and the Premier League,” Keane said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he’s still a world-class player – the hunger and the desire is still there.

“He’s a clever guy and he’s only coming back to Man United to win stuff. He’ll bring a winning mentality to the dressing room.

“But Man United still have the same problems with or without Ronaldo, and that’s midfield and goalkeeping problems.

“Man United having Ronaldo makes them a better team. But him coming back doesn’t mean they are suddenly going to close the gap on Man City and Chelsea and win the league title.”