The 24-year-old's admission confirms the widespread opinion that a deal was struck between the two clubs this time last year when Real launched their one-club crusade to sign the former Sporting Lisbon favourite. It also cements team-mate Zoran Tosic's revelation that the rest of the United players knew Ronaldo was on his way before the Champions League final defeat against Barcelona.
"I want to take advantage of the chance to ask the fans and the people of Manchester United to understand my decision. It's going to be a very big challenge for me," said Ronaldo, with a whiff of remorse.
Sir Alex Ferguson has of course seen bigger characters leave Old Trafford – but the difference this time around is that Ronaldo asked to leave. He too may not have it all his own way next season given that, for all their undoubted attacking prowess, Real remain a creaking gate at the back.
Re-elected president Florentino Perez's ambitious project for Spain's capital club must include a porous defence that was anything but watertight last season. Ferguson, meanwhile, is expected to kick-start his own summer spending spree on his return from his holiday.
Nick Walsh writes features and betting previews for Betfair.