Ronaldo receives rowdy welcome
MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo received a rapturous welcome from 80,000 Real Madrid fans; an outpouring so exuberant the soccer star had to be hustled away when spectators leaped barriers and took the field.
Ronaldo, who joined the famed club following his record transfer from Manchester United, appeared before the capacity crowd at Santiago Bernabeu stadium wearing the same No. 9 jersey worn by Real Madrid great Alfredo di Stefano.
"I''ve achieved one of my dreams," a beaming Ronaldo said before leading fans in a cry of "Viva Madrid!" "I want this to begin as quickly as possible so that I can show what I can do."
Real Madrid had been chasing the world player of the year since 2006. He agreed to a six-year contract in a record $131 million transfer.
Fans had begun lining up outside the stadium since early morning, hoping to glimpse the 24-year-old player. He completed a lap of honor to salute fans after performing a few juggling tricks.