Cristiano Ronaldo has always been sure of what he wants.
And it seems he had no problems informing his Manchester United teammates back in 2009 of his intentions to leave the club and join Real Madrid, according to Nani at least.
Ronaldo joined United in 2003 and won three Premier League trophies as well as the Champions League.
He also won the Red Devils’ first Ballon d’Or since George Best in 1968 .
But just like that, five years on from his arrival in 2008, the Portugual international decided there was more to explore out in the world and put the wheels in motion to leave United.
Sir Alex Ferguson quickly became aware of the situation and it wasn’t long before Real Madrid were piling the pressure on United to sell.
But Ferguson isn’t a man to be pushed around, and his autobiography explained how he regained control and forced Ronaldo to stay at Old Trafford for another season.
Ferguson recalled: “Real Madrid paid £80m in cash for him [in 2009] and do you know why? It was a way for Florentino Perez, their president, to say to the world: ‘We are Real Madrid, we are the biggest of the lot.’
“Ramon Calderon, Perez’s predecessor, had claimed the previous year that Cristiano would one day be a Real Madrid player. I went to Carlos Queiroz’s house in Portugal to find the boy expressing an urge to go to Real Madrid, and told him: ‘You can’t go this year, not after the way Calderon has approached this issue’.
“I said: ‘I know you want to go to Real Madrid but I’d rather shoot you than sell you to that guy now. If you perform, don’t mess us about, and someone comes and offers a world record fee, then we will let you go.’
“I did well to calm him down. I told him the reason I was refusing to sell him that year was because of Calderon.
“I said: ‘If I do that, my honour’s gone, everything’s gone for me, and I don’t care if you have to sit in the stands. I know it won’t come to that, but I just have to tell you I will not let you leave this year'”.
Ronaldo wasn’t deterred by the initial setback, though, and despite a rather blunt response from Ferguson continued to pressure his boss to let him leave.
He even informed his United teammates of his intentions, according to Nani.
“We would stay at the end of training to do competitions and they [Anderson and Ronaldo] were my teammates, everyone has best friends or some they feel more comfortable with and they were my support,” explained Nani.
“Some days he [Ronaldo] was telling us openly, ‘I’m here six or seven years now, I think it’s enough for me.’ He said that a couple of times.
“But it was always, ‘I will see, I will see, I will see’ but we never thought it [Real Madrid move] would happen so fast. After we won the league in the second year he left, he produced a great season so we were still surprised.”
As history shows, Ferguson indeed kept his side of the bargain and at the end of the 2009 season, Ronaldo was allowed to leave United for Real Madrid.
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