It has been revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson tried to tempt Cristiano Ronaldo into joining Barcelona instead of Real Madrid back in 2009.
The Portuguese superstar left Old Trafford for Los Blancos in an £80m record transfer, as per The Telegraph. There he went on to win two La Liga titles, four Champions League titles, three European Golden Shoes and four Ballon d’Ors in Madrid, and left for Juventus in 2018.
A big deal was made of his rivalry with Messi during that nine-season stay in Spain. They are without question among the best footballers the world has seen.
However, Fergie wasn’t in total favour of Ronaldo joining Madrid and, according to former Los Blancos president Ramon Calderon, tried to engineer a move for the Portugal international to Barcelona instead.
Calderon told AS: “The signing was carried out between me and Cristiano between 2007 and 2008. 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.
Calderon continued: “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.
“There was a document with a signature that, if either the club or the player had breached the deal, he would have to £30m to the other party,” he added.
This sounds like an illegal gentleman’s agreement. How was Ronaldo allowed to sign documents like this while still contracted to United, and did Fergie know anything about it?
Either way, I can see why Fergie wanted to tempt Ronaldo the other way — to Camp Nou.
Though Calderon claims to have done the hard graft, it was current president Florentino Perez who took over in 2009 to complete the deal.
Messi has previously admitted that he misses Ronaldo in La Liga since he moved to Serie A. Back in November he told RAC 1: “I would have liked for Cristiano to continue in the Spanish league, at Madrid.
“I think it gave an extra impetus to our rivalry, to the Clasico and to La Liga overall.”
From a neutrals perspective though, La Liga was at its entertaining best when these two were up against one another, not in the same team.
Back to FIFA or Football Manager I guess!
What would Barcelona have looked like with Ronaldo and Messi in the same team?