Real Madrid’s new striker Ronaldo was officially unveiled at a presentation ceremony yesterday although his signing was not universally welcomed at the club.
‘I want to thank Real Madrid president Florentino Perez for doing everything to bring me here,’ said the 25-year-old striker who has signed a four-year contract.
‘I also want to confirm that I had a very great desire to come to Real Madrid and I hope to respond with goals and some beautiful play so that I can live up to everything that is expected of me.’
The Brazilian player was thenhanded Real’s shirt by the club’s honorary president Alfredo Di Stefano.
‘This is a great day for Real Madrid,’ saidReal president Perez.
‘The mixture of Real Madrid and Ronaldo is perfect because of the universal appeal that both possess.
‘I have no doubt that he will help write many more glorious pages in the history of a club that already has a past that is brimming with success.’
Ronaldo then accepted the number 11 shirt that he will wear this season as Fernando Morientes has a contractual right to the coveted number 9 shirt.
It is understood that the Brazilian took a significant wage cut to move to Real and has even accepted a stipulation in his contract which would see him going without pay if he was injured for a period of six months or more.
‘Ronaldo is in Real Madrid because he wanted to be,’ said Perez.
‘What he did in order to join the club is definitely something out of the ordinary.
‘We should never forget that and will make sure that the club returns the same affection that he has shown towards us.’
However, despite the enthusiasm shown by Perez, Ronaldo’s arrival has caused some friction at Real. Reservations about the signing have percolated throughout the corridors of the Bernabeu.
The club’s sporting director Jorge Valdano was conspicuously absent from yesterday’s proceedings while some of Real’s senior players including Raul and Fernando Hierro are understood to be furious at the treatment meted out to Fernando Morientes.
Morientes was a makeweight inthe deal and although his proposed move to Barcelona collapsed it was clear that he was given little say in the matter. Raul even wore a Morientes shirt under his own as a mark of respect for his team-mate during Friday’s Super Cup success over Feyenoord.