Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly had agreed to return to Manchester United in 2013 but the deal broke down eventually, Patrice Evra, a former Red Devils has revealed.
Ronaldo, who began his professional soccer career at Sporting Lisbon, had moved to Man Utd ahead of the 2003-04 season. The six years at Old Trafford really took his career to another level as he won 10 trophies and also his maiden Ballon d’Or award during the tenure. In a $99 million move, which was a world record in 2009, Ronaldo joined La Liga giants Real Madrid.
It was recently revealed that Ronaldo’s then Man Utd boss, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted the Portuguese to join FC Barcelona and not the Bernabeu side, but the player had made up his mind. Ahead of the 2009-10 season, Ronaldo moved to Madrid, where he would go on to become a legend by adding four more Ballon d'Or awards to his cabinet apart from taking his tally of Champion League title to five. He also helped Real Madrid to win two La Liga titles, three FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, two trophies of Copa de Rey and two editions of Spanish Super Cup during his stint with them between 2019 and 2018.
Ronaldo was reportedly having a tough time under Jose Mourinho and had decided to leave Real Madrid in 2013. During the same time, Man Utd clinched their 13th Premier League title and in a recent interview, Man Utd's former defender Evra has disclosed that Ferguson then wanted to bolster the squad by re-signing Ronaldo and roping in Tottenham’s Gareth Bale. However, Ronaldo’s return to Man Utd eventually did not happen because Ferguson decided to call it quits as Red Devils’ manager.
“You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this [Fergie's retirement] is the one. 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’."
"He then said: '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'. 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,” Evra said on the latest UTD Podcast episode.
Evra, who also played for Juventus, went on to narrate how Ferguson broke the news to the dressing room about his retirement.
“After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting. When we arrived at Carrington, I see all those cameras and I was like: ‘Wow, someone has done something wrong. Maybe a player is a story again! Someone has done something wrong, we are in trouble'."
"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 further added.