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Manchester United beat Real Madrid in race to sign Ronaldo

Carlos Queiroz is tipped to become Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Old Trafford and the Manchester United assistant has revealed that the Red Devils only narrowly saw off Real Madrid for the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s hard to imagine United enjoying so much domestic and European success without the Portuguese winger this season, yet the Daily Telegraph reveal how it was a toss-up between signing two players.

”I had always followed Cristiano’s career,” Queiroz said, ”and delivered my opinion strongly every time we discussed whether to sign him or Quaresma. We were not able to buy both and I was sure about Cristiano. So naturally when I left [in the summer of 2003] I made him my top target for Madrid. He headed the list I gave Jorge Valdano, the sporting director. But fortunately – I say that now – he ended up joining United instead. And it happened through me because Sporting Lisbon, where I was once the manager, used me to ask United to inaugurate their stadium [the Alvalade had been rebuilt for the forthcoming European Championship] by playing a pre-season friendly. So I went to Alex and he was happy to do it. Sporting won 3-1, Cristiano had a fantastic game -and all doubts about him disappeared.”

It took a while for the Manchester United number seven to find his feet at Old Trafford, despite a scintillating debut. He certainly wasn’t the 20+ goal machine we’re seeing this season, proving to be erratic when it came to supplying an end product and often fond of one-too-many stepovers. Quite simply, it’s hard to imagine Manchester United without their star player although there may come a time when they’ll have to get used to him not being around.

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