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For years after he left the club in 2009, Manchester United fans would sing about the most recent Ballon d’Or winner from the club, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Many fans would say that at some point, he would come home to Old Trafford, and lead another wave of greatness, just like Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, and Georgie Best (the other three United Ballon d’Or winners for best player in Europe) did in the mid-to-late 1960s, and Ronaldo himself did in the mid-to-late 2000s.

But it was always just a pipe dream: Ronnie was not coming back.

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Until he did.

Ronaldo signed on with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils after a whirlwind 24-hour period which saw the five-time World Player of the Year linked with the most unthinkable: Manchester City. But a few calls from some United legends turned the tide, and Ronaldo signed on with the Red Devils on the Friday before the transfer window closes.

So, what has it done for the Premier League odds, and maybe even the UEFA Champions League numbers?

Well, Manchester City came into the 2021-22 campaign as defending champions, as winners of three of four Premier League titles, and as heavy favorites to repeat in England. My, how things have changed, though, since the first week of the season.

The city still has the best odds to win the title, but those odds have drifted from -175 all the way to +150 with some sportsbooks in Illinois and other US states with legal sports betting. So far, the main beneficiary has been Chelsea, whose odds have shortened from +500 down to +250. That makes sense, since the Blues beat City three times down the stretch last campaign, all by 1-0 scores, including in the UEFA Champions League Final. Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku, who fired Inter to its first Serie A title in a decade and could yet strengthen even further in the coming days.

 

So far, while Liverpool (odds of +425) is also still ahead of Manchester United, the Red Devils’ odds dropped dramatically with some sportsbooks immediately following the Ronaldo announcement. At BetMGM, Manchester United went from +800 to +500 to win its first Premier

League crown since 2012-13, which was the final season of the great Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm.

More than those odds were the actual bets, which came in heavy on Manchester United on Friday afternoon. Over half the wagers were on the Red Devils, as the odds dropped from 8/1 down towards 5/1: hopefully, if you took them, you got them early.

In the Champions League, PSG, with Ronaldo nemesis Lionel Messi, is still the favorite to win its first European Cup. But Ronaldo’s signing has seen the action jump on Manchester United as well. The club was +1400 before the signing, and that number should drop below 10-1 by the time the teams kick off the competition.

Can Ronaldo return the Red Devils to the heights they saw while he was there the first time?

Hopefully, and you had better back them now before their odds drop further.

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