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Sir Alex Ferguson Wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to Join Barcelona over Real Madrid

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2016

ROME - MARCH 31:  Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, controls the ball as Cristiano Ronaldo looks on during the Manchester United training session held at the Olympic Stadium on March 31, 2008 in Rome, Italy. Manchester United play Roma in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final First Leg Match tomorrow night at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly encouraged Barcelona to bid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008 in an attempt to prevent the Portuguese superstar leaving the Red Devils for Real Madrid in 2009. 

According to Guillem Balague in AS, once the former Red Devils manager was resigned to his star forward leaving Old Trafford, he attempted to ensure he did not move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Seeing that he couldn’t persuade Cristiano to stay [at United], he made contact with Barcelona to encourage them to bid," Balague said. "Anyone but Real Madrid. But Cristiano had made up his mind about where he wanted to go."

Per the Telegraph's Steve Wilson, Ferguson infamously labelled Real a "mob" and said that he "wouldn’t sell them a virus" in 2008, but despite his best efforts, Ronaldo eventually joined Los Blancos. 

Had the legendary Scot succeeded, the European football landscape might look quite different today.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 11: FIFA Ballon d'Or nominees Lionel Messi of Argentina and FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid (R) attend a press conference prior to the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015 at the Kongresshaus on Janua
Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Most significantly, a move to Barca instead of Real would have seen Ronaldo join up with Lionel Messi.

The duo have been rivals on either side of Spain’s Clasico divide for the last seven years and shared the last eight Ballon d'Or awards, but they have never played on the same team.

A Barca lineup including both of them would have undoubtedly been remarkable, but whether they would have been as effective playing in the same side is debatable.

Ronaldo surely made the right call in pushing through a move to Real. He has won two Champions Leagues and La Liga once with the club, establishing himself as a legend at the Santiago Bernabeu.

In 2015-16, his seventh season with the club, he surpassed the great Raul as Real's all-time leading goalscorer, per Bleacher Report UK:

B/R Football @brfootball

GOAL! Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Raul to officially become Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer on 324. http://t.co/NoNs2nOLiQ

Ronaldo also remains a United superstar, having won three Premier League titles and the Champions League with them, among other trophies.

Per Balague, after failing to persuade the Catalan giants to bid, Ferguson finally allowed Ronaldo to leave for Madrid if he stayed at United one more year.

He did just that, and in the 2008-09 season, the Red Devils won another league title and reached the Champions League final again, only to lose to Barca.

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