Ronaldo ready for La Liga challenge
Cristiano Ronaldo is confident he will have no problems adapting to life in the Spanish Primera Division following his world-record move from Manchester United.
Ronaldo was officially presented as a Madrid player tonight after passing his medical earlier in the day and then putting pen-to-paper on a six-year contract with the Spanish giants. That finalised his record-breaking £80 million move from Barclays Premier League champions and fulfilled what the 24-year-old revealed was a long-held dream.
"I am just so happy. For me, I have made my childhood dream a reality, which was to play for Real Madrid," he said. Ronaldo's move to Spain brings to an a six-year spell with United in the Premier League, during which time the Portugal international won a host of team and individual awards.
Much is now expected of the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year at Madrid, especially as he now carries the tag of the most expensive player ever, but the winger insists he is ready for the challenge of testing himself in a new environment and a new league. "I expect a different league of course," Ronaldo said. "I played six years in the Premier League and it's very difficult.
"It's faster and players are stronger. It's very competitive here as well. It will be interesting. I look forward to enjoying La Liga. I think I'm ready for this challenge. I eat good. I sleep good. I drink good. I think I'm ready for this league.
He added: "I am sure that I will be able to adapt no problem. I have some Spanish skills, Spanish language skills, I am compatible with the life here and I am sure that I will make very good friends here."
An estimated crowd of more than 80,000 crammed into Madrid's Bernabeu stadium for the former Sporting Lisbon star's presentation. That attendance swamped the estimated 55,000 that watched Kaka's unveiling here last Tuesday, and is belived to be the biggest turn-out for a presentation since a reported 75,000 saw the arrival of Diego Maradona at Napoli from Barcelona in 1984.
Ronaldo, who was sporting the number nine on his Madrid kit as he was greeted on stage by club president Florentino Perez, honorary president Alfredo di Stefano and Portugal legend Eusebio, said of his presentation: "It's been impressive, a very nice feeling. I didn't expect a full stadium and to come onto the pitch and see this was incredible."
Ronaldo is the third player to be unveiled by Madrid since Perez returned to the presidency at the start of June, following in the footsteps of Kaka and Raul Albiol. Brazil playmaker Kaka was a reported £56 million signing from AC Milan, while Spain centre-back Albiol was brought in from Valencia for a fee believed to be around £13 million.
Madrid have also agreed a deal with Lyon for their striker Karim Benzema for an initial fee of £30 million, a transfer that takes the Spanish giants' summer spending close to the £200 million mark. When asked about his giant fee, Ronaldo again insisted he will do all he can to prove Madrid were right to spend that amount.
"I have always thought that the best clubs, to have the best players, have to pay - so Real Madrid did a good thing. It was a correct decision," he added. "I understand...it is not your everyday thing to manage these figures, but I'm happy to be the most expensive player in the history of football and I'm going to prove that they paid good money for me and it was worth it."