The staggering, 24-hour impact of Ronaldo's Man United return 11 months ago

The staggering, 24-hour impact of Ronaldo's Man United return

Instant impact

Cristiano Ronaldo is back at Manchester United. After a sensational day in the transfer market that began with Ronaldo destined to join Manchester City, United launched a charm offensive, with Bruno Fernandes, Rio Ferdinand and Sir Alex Ferguson all playing their part in persuading Ronaldo to return to his former club instead.


The news sent the digital football world into a frenzy. Ronaldo's return had been rumoured for years, usually when he was negotiating a new contract with Real Madrid, but now it had actually happened. Manchester United's tweet confirming the move has, at the time of writing, received 1.8 million likes and over half a million retweets.

This fame - this power to get millions of eyeballs on the Manchester United brand - is one of the reasons United will have been so keen to bring the 36-year-old back to Old Trafford. That, and to get one over on their local rivals.

And while there are plenty of concerns about whether it's a smart signing on the pitch, there is no denying the colossal commercial impact it will have off the pitch.

Manchester United's growth on social media is probably the best example of this. Since the transfer was confirmed at 4:51 on Friday, the club's Instagram account has gained over two million followers in less than a day. The official announcement post also got 12 million likes alone.


Before the signing was confirmed, they had 43.1 million followers on the platform, and at the time of writing, they boast 45.4 million. And that number will only continue to grow with every goal he scores for the Red Devils. That is not all.

The club's stock value also rose by 8% overnight, adding €250 million in value for shareholders.

This is of course secondary to what he does on the pitch, and it will be fascinating to see how one of his former teammates manages his minutes and uses him tactically.

For all the emotion and artificial romance in this deal, it is still a risk for United. Read FootballJOE's Wayne Farry weigh up the reasons for and against the deal.