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Why Alex Ferguson Once Tried To Convince Barcelona To Buy Cristiano Ronaldo

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 06: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson the manager of Manchester United face the media during a press conference held at Old Trafford on April 6, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Guillem Balague has revealed the lengths that Alex Ferguson went to in order to prevent Cristiano Ronaldo from joining Real Madrid in 2009.

The then-Manchester United manager’s hostility towards the Spanish giants is well-documented, and he had even insisted just months before Ronaldo’s £80m move to the Bernabéu that he “wouldn’t sell that lot a virus.”

Nonetheless, the move did end up happening – although Balague claims that Ferguson had attempted to get Real’s fiercest rivals involved in order to stop the then-world record transfer from happening.

In Balague’s new biography of the Portuguese international (serialised by Spanish publication AS), Balague writes that Ferguson was so incensed by Real’s public and shameless pursuit of Ronaldo in the summer of 2008 that he encouraged Barcelona to enter the bidding to land the player, with Ferguson finally giving up hope of being able to convince him to stay.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 13:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United poses with Sir Alex Ferguson after agreeing a new five-year deal at the club during a first team training session at Carrington Training Ground on April 13 2007, in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Balague writes:

“This was about much more than a transfer, it was about maintaining his authority in the eyes of the world. For weeks he’d pursued a Machiavellian approach of sorts, but seeing that he couldn’t persuade Cristiano to stay he made contact with Barcelona to encourage them to bid.

“Anyone but Real Madrid.”

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo (R) poses with his FIFA world player of the year trophy with Manager Alex Ferguson before the English Premiership football match against Wigan at Old Trafford, Manchester, north-west England, on January 14, 2009.   AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW YATES FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

Unfortunately for Ferguson, Ronaldo had long made up his mind about where he wanted to go. Neither the forward nor his agent Jorge Mendes was particularly subtle about his desire to join Real Madrid, to the point where even if Barcelona did become interested, it would not have mattered in the overall scheme of things.

In the end, Manchester United worked out an arrangement with Mendes, Ronaldo and Real – he would stay at Old Trafford for one more year and move the following summer:

“Ferguson sought a gentlemen’s agreement that he’d already run by Mendes,

“He wouldn’t let him leave this year, he said, but if he behaved well over the next twelve months, if he gave enough to the club and Madrid came back with a record fee, he wouldn’t stand in his way.”

MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 26:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid takes to the field for his debut home match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium during the Peace Cup match between Real Madrid and Al-Ittihad on July 26, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Considering Ronaldo scored 26 goals in all competitions as Man United retained their Premier League title, won the League Cup and reached the Champions League final, it turned out to be a productive year for all concerned.

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Author: The PA Team

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