Ronaldo next: The 7 players Man Utd have signed from Serie A since 2000

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Manchester United's Juan Sebastian Veron celebrates his goal against Maccabi Haifa. Old Trafford, September 2002.

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo is set to complete a shock return to Manchester United, with the 36-year-old becoming the eighth player the Red Devils have signed from the Italian top flight.

We’ve taken a look at the last seven players they have signed from Serie A to see how their imports from Italy have generally fared.

Note: we’ve not included players initially signed for the youth team, so Davide Petrucci and Federico Macheda miss out. Sorry.

Amad Diallo

Despite only making four Serie A appearances for Atalanta, Amad did enough to convince United to pay an initial £19million for his services.

After completing the move in January 2021, he initially played for the reserves before scoring one goal in eight first-team appearances.

The 19-year-old now looks set for a season away on loan and has been heavily linked with Eredivisie outfit Feyenoord.

Paul Pogba

We’re not exactly sure how to sum up Pogba’s second spell at United since he was re-signed in a world record transfer four-and-a-half years ago.

The midfielder has undoubtedly been very good at times, and he’s undoubtedly been not very good at others.

We’d like to say the truth is maybe in the middle then, but that’s not a very #hottake.

READ: Comparing Paul Pogba’s Man Utd stats under Mourinho and Solskjaer

Matteo Darmian

Darmian completed a £12.7million move to United in 2015 and was initially viewed as the long-term successor to Gary Neville.

The right-back never established himself as a first-team regular during his four years at Old Trafford and was sold to Parma for just £1.4million in 2019.

Sergio Romero

We almost forgot all about this one, yet signing Romero on a free transfer from Sampdoria in 2015 has been a decent bit of business for United.

The Argentina international kept a clean sheet in the 2017 Europa League final victory over Ajax but left the club in 2021 after falling behind David de Gea and Dean Henderson in the pecking order.

Anyway, we’ve only just seen this story about how Romero initially wore the No.20 at Old Trafford, and it’s another nice anecdote on Louis van Gaal.

“There was a misunderstanding between myself and the manager, Louis van Gaal,” Romero told the club’s official website. “He asked me what squad number I wanted, and I said 22.

“But he must have thought I’d said 21 because he told me if I wanted that number, I would have to go and speak with Ander Herrera. Anyway, it turned out Nick Powell had recently changed to 22, so I just said that No.20 would do fine.”

READ: Ranking Man Utd’s 23 Premier League goalkeepers from worst to best

Giuseppe Rossi

Rossi was only 17 when he joined United from Parma in 2004 but was immediately involved with the first team, making two League Cup appearances in his maiden campaign.

While he was clearly a talented player, Rossi struggled to become a regular due to some of the illustrious names in attack ahead of him, and his career has sadly been decimated by injuries despite proving his class at Villarreal.

He was at least invited to train back at United by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier this year, which was nice.

Juan Sebastian Veron

Often judged as a flop at United after arriving for a British record £24.3million from Lazio in 2001, hindsight has allowed Veron to be viewed more kindly in retrospect.

While the midfielder undoubtedly struggled to recapture his Serie A heights, he still produced some memorable moments, particularly in Europe.

After watching Veron’s debut, Nicky Butt recalled: “I was suspended against Everton. He played and I sat there and I thought, ‘I’ll never play for United again, that’s me done, I’ll have to get a move.’

“Veron was the best player I’ve ever seen, except Cantona. In training he was like something I’d never seen.”

Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, was much more straightforward after facing questions about Veron’s quality from the press: “He is a fucking great player. And you’re all fucking idiots.”

READ: A tribute to Juan Sebastian Veron, Man Utd’s right man at the wrong time

Laurent Blanc

Fergie wanted to sign Blanc in 1996 but had to wait until 2001 before he landed the defender, by which time he was 35 and too old really if we’re being honest.

He did win the Premier League in his second season, though, and we really enjoy the fact people were keen to point that the first five teams United lost to in the league with Blanc spelled out his surname: Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Chelsea.

It was probably the Illuminati.

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