Sir Alex Ferguson almost re-signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid and Gareth Bale from Tottenham just before he retired, according to Patrice Evra.
Ronaldo left Manchester United for Real Madrid in 2009 after years of world class performances in the Premier League, and they could no doubt have done with bringing him back.
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Former Man United left-back Evra has revealed that the legendary Scottish manager Sir Alex Ferguson almost re-signed Ronaldo from Real Madrid in 2013, just two weeks before he announced that he was going to retire.
According to Evra, the Scot also wanted to sign Gareth Bale, who was then playing for Tottenham, and Ronaldo back from Real as he planned to stay on as manager of the Red Devils for another ten years.
However, in the end, Ronaldo stayed in Madrid and Bale moved to the Spanish capital while Ferguson retired from management.
Recounting the story in the latest UTD Podcast as cited in the Mirror, Evra said:
“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.”
“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 the 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’.
“He apologised to [Robin] van Persie, he apologised to Shinji [Kagawa], because he just brought them. He apologised to them especially,” he added.
It’s certain that the landscape of football history not just Manchester United’s would have been starkly different had Sir Alex stayed on as manager at Old Trafford and managed to sign both Ronaldo and Bale.
But in the end, Sir Alex bowed out of management and was succeeded by David Moyes while Ronaldo and Bale became teammates at Real Madrid.