Four years after he had completed a move to Real Madrid in a world record deal, Cristiano Ronaldo had agreed for a return to Manchester United before the deal broke when then then manager Alex Ferguson announced his retirement. Also Read - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Counting on Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford to Boost Manchester United's Season Run on Premier League Return
The claim has been made by former Man United defender and Ronaldo’s teammate at Old Trafford Patrice Evra during a podcast. Also Read - Jurgen Klopp Likes Lionel Messi a Little More Than 'Perfect Player' Cristiano Ronaldo
“You know, you talk about the hardest moments [during United career], I would say maybe this [Ferguson’s retirement] is the one,” Evra told UTD Podcast. “Two weeks before that, I remember there was a lot of media saying Ferguson will maybe retire next year, and he said, ‘Patrice, I will never retire. I will be here another 10 years’.” Also Read - 'Those People Are Paying Your Salary' - When Ferguson Chided Man United Players For Not Signing Autographs
Ferguson announced his retirement in 2013, bringing an end to his legendary 27-year reign as United manager. However, weeks before he was to make the decision official, the Scot told Evra he planned to bring back Ronaldo and sign Gareth Bale as well.
” My target is I’m 99 per cent sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. I just need these two players to win the Champions League again. Ninety-nine per cent’,” Evra recalled. “And to be fair, when I speak with Cristiano, I ask him and he said yes to the boss, and was coming to join United. He told me this.”
“After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting,” the Frenchman added.
Evra relived the day’s events when Ferguson spoke with the United squad regarding his announcement.
“When we arrived at Carrington, I see all those cameras and I was like: ‘Wow, someone has done something wrong. Maybe a player is the story again! Someone has done something wrong, we are in trouble,” the 39-year-old said.
“But we arrived and people said, ‘Guys, you have to stay in the dressing room because the boss wants to have a chat’. And when the boss came into the dressing room to talk to everyone, it’s never good news. He came, and he said, ‘I’m really sorry. Some people have said that I’m going to retire even before I say it myself. That’s why you saw all those cameras. But I will retire because my wife needs me’.”
Evra said Ferguson then proceeded to apologies to Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa who had just joined United.
“He apologised to van Persie, he apologised to Shinji because he just brought them. He apologised to them especially,” he said.