Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson has recently spoken of his frustration at losing Cristiano Ronaldo for only £80 million, when the Portuguese star joined Real Madrid in 2009.
I told David Gill to ask for £150m. (Florentino) Perez would have paid. The only thing that hurt me, and I said this repeatedly to David Gill, was that we didn't demand enough. I told David, 'Ask for £150m.' He said, 'Don't be silly. They'll never pay £150m.'
I said, 'Ask for it because he's worth it.' We signed the deal. I think it cost £80m or so but I'll always wonder what Mr Perez would have said if we'd asked for £150m. Considering the fact that they signed Gareth Bale for £85m, I think he would have agreed to pay between £80m and £150m.
I'm sure he would have because Perez knew perfectly the quality of player he was receiving, as shown by his time at United. Furthermore he was only 23. That is the only disappointing aspect.
Ronaldo has taken his United form to new levels at Madrid, and he has claim to being the greatest player in world football after recently being awarded the Ballon d'Or.
The Portuguese has already scored 34 goals in 28 games across Madrid's league and Champions League campaigns this season, per WhoScored.com.
Ronaldo once again showed his worth to his club on Sunday as he salvaged a draw against high-flying neighbours Atletico Madrid:
Ronaldo makes it 2-2. What a game!!!http://t.co/yMpJqUFVz7— Football Stuff (@FootbaIIStuff) March 2, 2014
When United lost Ronaldo, most were not surprised by the size of the fee; it was a world-record bid and an offer that the Manchester club could not turn down.
A total of £80 million for one player was a balanced price given the market in 2009, but Ronaldo has proved he was worth so much more.
His personal exploits whilst with Madrid have been outrageous, even though the club have failed to consistently add the trophies they desire since his purchase.
How much was Cristiano Ronaldo worth in 2009?
United and Ferguson's failure was not to re-invest that transfer fee adequately. Antonio Valencia was brought in to add width once Ronaldo was sold, but the former Wigan man was never going to be an adequate replacement.
Valencia did go on to become United's Player of the Season and eventually earn Ronaldo's famous No. 7 shirt, but his form eventually collapsed and he has proved he is not a player from the top shelf of world football.
Five years on, and United still need to replace Ronaldo. If the player himself was irreplaceable then the addition of players like Juan Mata will now help.
But you cannot escape the fact that Ferguson and the Glazers got it wrong in 2009, when the money from Madrid could have been used in a more constructive manner.