Former Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that when the English club was in talks with Real Madrid in regards to selling Cristiano Ronaldo, he wanted the club to ask for almost double the fee they paid in the end.
According to Ferguson’s remarks, at the time, he told the Old Trafford chief executive that he thought the £80 million (approximately $140 million) the club ended up dishing for the Portuguese star was way too conservative and they could have asked for £150 million (about $250 million).
Cristiano Ronaldo was bought by Real Madrid in 2009 for — what was then — a record breaking fee, however, the former Manchester United boss believes that Real’s President Florentino Perez was ready to pay more than twice that to bring the current Ballon d’Or winner to Spain.
Speaking to the Spanish publication AS Ferguson recalls he insisted that Real would pay the higher amount, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
“I told David Gill to ask for £150 million. Perez would have paid.” the Manchester United great said. “I told David, ‘Ask for £150 million.’ ‘Don’t be silly,’ he said. ‘They’ll never pay that.'”
At the age of 18, Ronaldo caught the eye of Sir Alex, when his club at the time, Sporting CP defeated Manchester United 3-1 in the inaugural game at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon, Portugal.
Manchester United players were so impressed with what they saw in the young striker that they urged their boss to sign him.
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first ever Portuguese player to be signed by Manchester United following the 2002-2003 season. The English club payed £12.24 million (about $20 million) for the 18-year-old.
Initially Ronaldo requested the number 28 for his jersey, but Ferguson wouldn’t have any of it:
“After I joined, the manager asked me what number I’d like. I said 28. But Ferguson said ‘No, you’re going to have No. 7,’ and the famous shirt was an extra source of motivation. I was forced to live up to such an honor.”
Previous number seven for Manchester United were pretty legendary. Before Ronaldo joined the club it was worn by Johnny Berry, George Best, Steve Coppell, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, and David Beckham. Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia have also been given the famous jersey.
The Manchester United legendary former manager keeps wondering what Perez would have said had they asked for £150 million:
“I am sure, because I know that Perez knew perfectly well the quality of the player he was getting, as shown by Cristiano’s stats at United.”
Ferguson regrets the club didn’t pay what he thought Ronaldo was worth, which would have given him bragging rights for the rest of his life.
Antonio Valencia was bought to fill the spot Cristiano Ronaldo left vacant when he was signed by Real Madrid in June of 2009, but it is obvious that nobody has come close to making up to the big loss Manchester United suffered when the striker left for Spain.