It was expected to be a big extravagant event, but no one expected it to be what it was—the birth of a new breed of superstar.
Cristiano Ronaldo was welcomed to the Santiago Bernabeu by more than 80,000 fans, and thousands more that were eventually locked out had flocked to the stadium to see their new Galactico in the flesh.
The fans arrived two hours before the presentation was set to begin.
They never stopped screaming, chanting his name, or raising their signs filled with messages for the Portuguese star.
Every time a video montage of him was shown on the screens doing what he does best, the fans let out cheers of happiness in what they hope is yet to come.
The videos highlighted his lightning speed, fancy footwork, insane goals, and self-proclaimed swag that he had possessed at Manchester United. It let the fans know his unveiling was inching closer every minute that passed by.
Then, what they and he had been waiting three years for had finally come.
Cristiano Ronaldo emerged from the tunnel adorned in white with the famous No. 9 gracing his back.
He had arrived, and he was theirs.
He smiled, clapped, and gave the thumbs up.
Finally, he was home.
The crowd erupted, rising to their feet to greet their newfound hero.
The flashbulbs never stopped flickering, and he didn't want them to as he made his way to the main stage to greet the man who had made his dream possible. He hugged Perez and waited nervously as Perez gave a speech about "one of the greatest footballers of all time."
He had already dazzled the crowd without murmuring a word.
Then it was time for Ronaldo to address the Real Madrid faithful, to tell them what they had been longing to hear.
He walked up to the podium adjusted the microphone, looked up in awe of what was before him, and stood for what seemed like forever as a smile crept across his face. It seemed as though he was planning to do that—to soak in the moment.
A rapturous roar teemed from the fans in anticipation of his next move.
His speech was only about a minute or so long, ending it in a chant of "Hala Madrid!" that the droves of fans poignantly echoed from the rafters at the request of their new King.
If he hadn't spoken throughout the entire ceremony, no one would've cared, but to hear him speak cemented the moment for many as one they will never forget.
I've never seen him smile so much, and he actually looked like he was enjoying himself.
While he performed tricks (some unsuccessful), signed a ball for a young boy and kissed him on the forehead, and signed a jersey and posed for a photo with another boy before being paraded around the stadium, he looked genuinely happy.
He was taking his walk along the green carpet, which looked like something out of the Wizard of Oz—a path that would lead him to greatness, to his destiny.
He clapped, waved, kicked signed balls into the stands, and kissed his badge, something Manchester United had rarely if ever seen him do.
He posed with Real Madrid's nine European trophies as though they were old friends.
Fans watched in awe of the spectacle they were witnessing.
Some fans were so overjoyed they broke the barricades, stormed the field, and tried to evade security in an attempt to see the man of the hour up close and personal.
The sight of him just wasn't enough.
While others were being tackled by security and police, one fan managed to make it to Ronaldo. Ronaldo hugged him, signed his jersey, and hugged him again before the young man was escorted off by security.
It was so much of a frenzy that security had to rush Ronaldo prematurely off the pitch into the tunnel after fans came running towards him.
And just like that, he was out of sight. The ceremony was over.
For many, it was back to reality. Back to the heat, back to work, back to life.
But for most, it was three hours of magic that will never be forgotten.
No one knows what the future holds for CR9 and Real Madrid.
No one knows if he'll succeed so mightily as many expect.
No one knows if chemistry will form between Kaka and himself.
No one knows if money can buy trophies.
No one knows if Ronaldo is the savior that Real Madrid has so desperately yearned for.
One thing is known though: For one night only, Cristiano Ronaldo was more than a man, more than an athlete, more than a diva.
He was all smiles, all sparkle.
He was a superstar, a King, a Galactico indeed.
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