Rio Ferdinand has confirmed that Manchester United did indeed make moves to sign Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, but after the Portuguese star committed to a new Real Madrid contract he now fears that Ronaldo will never come back to Old Trafford.
Ferdinand himself added that he had spent large parts of the summer on the phone and texting the forward, but to no avail. He now adds that he thinks their chance of bringing Ronaldo back to the club has passed.
In quotes obtained by the Daily Mirror, the United defender said when asked if he'd spoken to Ronaldo in the summer:
What do you think? He was one of the most dialled people on my phone at the time!
But I think the opportunity has gone now. If we could have done it, I think it would have been last summer. He’s signed a new deal at Real now.
As footballers you don’t really let on too much to each other. It’s like a chess game. And in those situations you have got your one and two first-choice moves or scenarios that you want to happen. So to let people know is sort of letting the cat out of the bag. You play your cards close to your chest.
But if he was going to leave Real Madrid, I think Manchester United would have been the place he would have come to. That’s my personal view, but no-one will ever know now.
United did hint that they were working on major signings in the summer—reports linger that they were in the market for Gareth Bale, who also ended up at the Bernabeu in the summer, while Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona was the subject of a high-profile pursuit.
Nobody high-profile arrived, however, with the £27.5 million acquisition of Marouane Fellaini looking more like a measure of panic than necessity.
Ronaldo is expected to win the Ballon d'Or after an outstanding 2013 in which he netted 69 goals for club and country.