The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fergie’s new No. 7
Christiano Ronaldo

Manchester United made Cristiano Ronaldo the most expensive teenager in British football history Tuesday when they confirmed that the fee for the Sporting Lisbon winger was £12.24 million.

But it was the pressure from Barcelona, who beat United to the signature of Ronaldinho, that pushed the price far beyond what the Premiership champions had expected.

After losing out on their major transfer target of the summer, United has no option but to pay a record sum for the teenager, eclipsing the pounds 8.5 million fee Newcastle paid for Hugo Viana in June last year, and did nothing to counter the expectation on Ronaldo’s shoulders by presenting him with the No 7 shirt recently vacated by David Beckham.

[Ronaldo, the new United No. 7, however, does not want to be compared to the English superstar, reports AFP. “I did not come to substitute Beckham. I know that everyone will demand a lot of me, but we are different players,” he told Portuguese daily 24 Horas.

“I would have liked to have kept my number 28 but they gave me number seven.”]

Ronaldo’s agent confirmed that the player was targeted by Barcelona, Valencia, Juventus, Parma and Chelsea while Real Madrid, now coached by Ferguson’s former assistant Carlos Queiroz, also made an enquiry but no firm bid.

Luis Correia said: “Cristiano is one of the hottest young players in the market and almost all the most important clubs in Europe wanted to sign him.

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