Cristiano Ronaldo has always known what he wants. In 2009, he revealed to his Manchester United teammates his intention to leave the club and join Real Madrid, according to Nani at least. Ronaldo joined United in 2003 and won three Premier League trophies and a Champions League title. He was also the Red Devils’ first Ballon d’Or winner since George Best in 1968.
However, just five years after his arrival in 2008, the Portuguese international decided there was more to discover outside of the club and began the process of leaving. Sir Alex Ferguson became aware of the situation quickly and Real Madrid soon put pressure on United to sell. He explained in his autobiography how he regained control and convinced Ronaldo to stay at Old Trafford for another season.
Ferguson explained: “Real Madrid paid £80 million in cash for him [in 2009], and do you know why? To tell the world: ‘We are Real Madrid, we are the biggest.’ I went to Carlos Queiroz’s house in Portugal to find Cristiano telling Carlos Queiroz he wanted to go to Real Madrid, and told him: “You can’t go this year, not after the way Ramon Calderon has treated this issue.
As much as I want you to go to Real Madrid, I would rather shoot you than sell you to that guy now. If you perform, don’t mess us around, and someone comes and offers a world record fee, then we will let you go.” The reason I refused to sell him that year was because of Calderon, and that calmed him down. “If I do that, my honor’s gone, everything is gone for me, and I don’t care if I have to sit in the stands. I know it won’t come to that, but I just have to say I won’t let you leave this year.” Despite Ferguson’s blunt response, Ronaldo was unfazed and continued to pressure his boss to let him go.
According to Nani, he even informed his United teammates of his intentions. We would stay after training to compete, and they were my teammates. Everyone has their closest friends or those they are more comfortable with, and they were my support,” Nani said.
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