Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United over the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal because Sir Alex Ferguson was willing to sign him immediately.
That is according to super-agent Jorge Mendes, who has opened up on the Portugal international’s exit from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.
Ronaldo moved to Old Trafford almost immediately after the then 18-year-old had destroyed Ferguson’s side in a preseason friendly ahead of the new season.
Rumour has it Fergie made calls at half time in that game to make it known he wanted to sign Ronaldo and a deal was brokered soon after.
And Mendes claims it was the insistence to sign him immediately rather than loan him back to Sporting for a year that gave the Red Devils the green light.
In an interview with the website SportBusiness, Mendes revealed how the power of Ferguson’s personality helped.
“I’ve always maintained that the coach is, in the end, the most important component in any transfer,” Mendes said.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a perfect example.
“Every club wanted him, but they all wanted him to have another season loaned back to Sporting.
“The only person who seemed willing to take him on immediately was Sir Alex Ferguson and, at that time, I had no doubt it was the best solution.
“My decision, made without a second thought, was that Manchester United was the ideal club for him. I’m sure that, if Cristiano Ronaldo had stayed at Sporting, he wouldn’t have played half the games he played for Manchester in the first season, at the end of which, by the way, he was voted the team’s best player by the fans.”
Ronaldo went on to become a world great after moving to Old Trafford after that game with Lisbon to reopen the redeveloped Jose Alvalade Stadium.
He scored 118 goals in 292 games for United over a six year spell before moving to Real Madrid for a world record fee in 2009.
Since then his statistics have skyrocketed even more and he has now scored 626 goals in 838 club matches to date.
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