While much of the football world was caught off guard by Cristiano Ronaldo heading back to Manchester United late in the summer transfer window, former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov said Ronaldo tipped him off well in advance.
"A month ago, he told me that he was moving to Manchester United," Khabib, a close friend to CR7, told reporters. "I expected this deal to take place. I think that Manchester United is more suitable for him than Juventus. For me, the transition was not a surprise."
The comments fly in the face of the narrative the reunion was a last-minute decision.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said as recently as Aug. 21 he didn't expect Ronaldo to leave the Serie A club before the transfer deadline.
"Cristiano has always trained well and has never expressed his desire to leave Juventus," Allegri said. "He told me that he's staying, so we can clear that one up."
Then, after information emerged that United beat out rival Manchester City to land the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Neil Custis of The Sun reported an "emotional conversation" between Ronaldo and former Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson late in the process swung the tide in favor of an Old Trafford return.
Ronaldo hinted toward Ferguson's importance in an interview with the club's official website on Wednesday.
"For me, Sir Alex Ferguson is like a father in football for me," Ronaldo said. "He helped me a lot, he taught me many things, and in my opinion of course he had a big role because the relationship that we had, we keep in touch all the time, and he's an unbelievable person. I really like him a lot and he was the main key for me to be in the position that I am, that I signed for Manchester United."
So something doesn't add up between all those comments and Nurmagomedov apparently finding out about the move weeks ago.
Regardless, Ronaldo is back in the United squad and will soon be roaming Old Trafford in his famed No. 7 kit once again.
The Red Devils' first match after the international break is set for Sept. 11 when they host Newcastle United in Premier League action.