Ferguson wanted Ronaldo to go to Barca instead of Real, say reports - GulfToday

Ferguson wanted Ronaldo to go to Barca instead of Real, say reports


Cristiano Ronaldo and Alex Ferguson have expressed their admiration for each other a number of times in the years since the striker left Manchester United in 2009. File / Agence France-Presse

Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo’s 90 million Euro transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 is seen as a landmark moment in both clubs’ history.

While for Real Madrid it marked the beginning of the career of a player at the Santiago Bernabeu who would become their all time highest goalscorer, for United, it marked the end of the team that many regard as the best Alex Ferguson had assembled in his 26-year-long reign at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo’s transfer saga was however one that stretched on for a long time. Ferguson’s disdain for Real’s tendency to pay exorbitant fees to buy the biggest player in the world is one that he never attempted to hide and it is reported that he was even ready to sell Ronaldo to Real’s arch-rivals Barcelona just to ensure that anyone but the Madrid giants would get his star forward.

According to AS, Real Madrid had reportedly agreed to pay Ronaldo’s 75 million Euro-payout clause and Ferguson flew to Portugal to cut off Madrid’s bid directly. The Spanish newspaper then says that Ferguson went on to contact Barcelona and encourage them to make a bid for Ronaldo.

In the end, however, Ferguson knew of Ronaldo’s desire to join Real and this was key in the transfer to go through.

Ronaldo’s fee was a record that stood for four years until Real broke it again to buy Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. Unlike many other players who have struggled to justify their record transfer fees however, Ronaldo would go on to become one of the greatest players in the club’s history.

His tally of a mind numbing 451 goals in just 438 appearances makes him the highest goalscorer overall in the club’s history. He is also the all-time highest goalscorer for them in LaLiga and the Champions League. Aaccording to former Madrid president Ramon Calderon, who was the club’s supremo when the global superstar agreed the switch to La Liga – although he was replaced by Florentino Perez in the position that summer, the Football Espana reported.

Calderon has now revealed that United were hopeful that they could somehow block the deal for the Portugal international, and even tried to offer him to their El Clasico rivals Barcelona instead.

Indeed, just months earlier the Catalan giants defeated United 2-0 in the Champions League final with the Red Devils intent on trying to find Ronaldo another buyer.

“The signing was carried out between me and Cristiano over 2007 and 2008,” Calderon revealed, as cited by Diario AS. “It was a difficult negotiation with Manchester United because they did not want to lose the player but he was very clear about what he wanted.

“He wanted to join Real Madrid and it was a unique opportunity for us, so I took advantage of it.

“(Alex) Ferguson did not want him to leave and in particular he did not want him to join Madrid, as we had won even more trophies than Manchester United, so he offered the player to Barcelona instead.

“Barcelona were delighted with the opportunity but Ronaldo was very clear about the commitment he had with Madrid and a document that had already been signed.

Ronaldo and Ferguson have expressed their admiration for each other a number of times in the years since. Ronaldo has called Ferguson his father in footballing terms while Ferguson rated Ronaldo as one of four players he managed that he considers truly world-class along with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona.


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