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Tuesday 4. June 2024 - 08:37

Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham send messages to Kylian Mbappe, they are in total agreement

Let’s go back 21 years. Manchester United were going head-to-head with Real Madrid at Old Trafford in a titanic Champions League battle.

A hat-trick from Br azil’s Ronaldo was enough to see Real qualify on aggregate, but Manchester United had gone out swinging, defeated the star-studded side 4-3 at Old Trafford.

It was an unforgettable match, but soon afterwards, one of United’s stars was signing for Real, with David Beckham later revealing that Zinedine Zidane tried to talk him into a move at the final whistle.

Beckham’s exit came as Real’s Galactico era was really taking off. Since then, it’s like it has never stopped.

Back in 2024, instead of being competitors, Manchester United and Real Madrid could not be further apart.

Real Madrid have confirmed they will sign Kylian Mbappe, with the French international agreeing to sign on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.

Even on a free, it is the biggest move of the summer, and a huge statement from Real, just 48 hours after clinching their 15th Champions League title, defeating Borussia Dortmund.

Mbappe makes Real heavy favourites to win their 16th title next year. If there is a team who stops them, it won’t be Manchester United, who failed to qualify for the competition’s new format.

The move is a real statement from Real. In contrast, Manchester United fans do not even know who the manager will be next season, let alone any transfer business being concluded this season.

But as we recall from the Sir Alex Ferguson era, it’s easier to make signings when you are on top. The best want to join you, and will throw everything else aside to do it.

Mbappe’s move to Madrid was welcomed by former United midfielder David Beckham, now owner of Inter Miami.

He wrote on Instagram: “Congratulations my friend – more exciting times ahead.”

This was followed by Real’s record signing and former Manchester United star – Beckham’s Old Trafford replacement, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, now at Al-Nassr, told Mbappe he is “Excited to see you light up the Bernabeu”.

Both Beckham and Ronaldo agree – they can’t wait to see what Mbappe is capable of for Real.

Beckham’s departure to Real was tough to take for Manchester United fans. Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit hit even harder.

Not even a fee of £80 million could soften the blow. It’s still United’s record sale, and looks cheap, which former chief executive David Gill even admitted earlier this year..

Ronaldo’s move in 2009 took Real’s Galactico project to a new level, and they have not looked back, enjoying an era of dominance which has extended beyond his exit in 2018.

Mbappe’s move bears some similarities to Ronaldo’s considering the stage of his career he is at.

The Frenchman is joining his third club, after spells at Monaco and PSG. Real were also the third club of Ronaldo’s career, after Sporting and Manchester United.

Ronaldo was 24 when he made his move, Mbappe 25. Both won titles domestically with PSG and Manchester United, but wanted new challenges.

Mbappe is searching for the Champions League to add to his collection, a difference with Ronaldo was that he already won it for United. But the Frenchman has something which may evade Ronaldo his whole career – a World Cup medal.

Do their similar career paths means PSG fans have a chaotic second spell at the club for Mbappe to look forward to in 13 years time?

Perhaps. But they may not be upset about that. Many United fans who experienced Ronaldo’s return would agree it was kind of worth it just to see him wear the club’s shirt again – no matter how it ended.

United meanwhile, now have to plot a totally different path forward, to recover from a decade of mismanagement, to try and get back anywhere near Real’s level. Qualifying for thee 2025/26 Champions League would be a start.

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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