Ex-Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has claimed former boss Sir Alex Ferguson believed both Cristiano Ronaldo AND Gareth Bale were heading to Old Trafford before deciding to retire when the deals fell through.
The Summer of 2013 was a huge one for Manchester United as manager Ferguson decided to step down after 26 successful years, but according to legendary left-back Evra it could have been even more momentous.
That’s because the club were working on deals to buy not just Gareth Bale from Tottenham on the back of a breakout year in which he won the PFA player of the year, but also a jaw-dropping return for fan-favorite Ronaldo.
“Two weeks before his retirement, I remember there was a lot of media saying Ferguson will maybe retire next year, and he said to me, ‘Patrice, I will never retire. I will be here another 10 years,’” revealed Evra to the official UTD Podcast.
“He then said: ‘My target is I’m 99 percent sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. I just need these two players to win the Champions League again. Ninety-nine percent.’”
In the end, Bale moved to Real Madrid for a then-world record fee of £86 million (US$110 million) and Ferguson decided to bring his reign to an end, anointing Everton boss David Moyes as his successor.
But it seems CR7 was indeed on board with a return to Old Trafford at the time, as Evra explained: “…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.”
Ronaldo opted to stay in Spain, signing a lucrative new contract and going on to beat the all-time goalscoring record at the Bernabeu.
Sir Alex, meanwhile reportedly apologized to his players as he called it time on his record-breaking managerial career.
Evra said: “…we arrived (at Carrington, United’s training ground) 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.’”