Man Utd legend Docherty speaks on 2009 Ronaldo transfer
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Talk of Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Juventus is containing to gather pace ahead of the summer transfer window. The Old Lady are determined to get the 36-year-old off the wage bill as they look to balance the finances in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. And Manchester United could be his next destination, with rumours linking him back to Old Trafford intensifying.
Manchester United signed Ronaldo as a replacement for David Beckham back in the summer transfer window of 2003.
Initially, he had raw potential. But, after three years of hard graft, he returned after the 2006 World Cup a player transformed.
Ronaldo then propelled United to three straight Premier League titles as well as the Champions League crown in 2008, where he missed a penalty after heading his side in front.
In 2009, however, he upped and left for Real Madrid.
Ronaldo continued to excel over in Spain, winning four Champions League titles prior to moving to Juventus.
And, since 2018, he’s been in fine form the Old Lady – even if the Serie A giants have regressed in recent years.
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Now, however, Ronaldo could be on the move. Juventus need to get the Portugal international off the wage bill and, what’s more, he already appears to have said his goodbyes.
Manchester United have been strongly linked again, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still in touch with his former team-mate – who he considers to be the best player he ever shared a field with.
And Tuttomercatoweb claimed in April that Ronaldo had actually talked with his old club about a potential return on a short, two-year contract.
It was said United wanted the 36-year-old to take a pay cut, with the forward currently earning mega wages over in Turin.
But Ronaldo, at the time, was unwilling to play ball.
And whether that’s changed remains to be seen. Some publications have suggested he’s willing, others have claimed otherwise.
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Furthermore, United also have other targets in mind.
While Ronaldo would tick many boxes on a footballing and financial level, he’s certainly not Solskjaer’s priority target as he enters the twilight years of his career.
Instead, that mantle belongs to Jadon Sancho.
The Borussia Dortmund star has been on the club’s transfer radar ever since the summer of 2017, when Jose Mourinho first tried to bring him to Old Trafford.
And Solskjaer is hoping United can broker a deal for the Dortmund star, who recovered from a shaky start to the season to fire his side to DFB-Pokal glory.
Declan Rice is another name being eyed, although United are set to face strong competition from Champions League winners Chelsea when it comes to snapping him up.
And Raphael Varane is wanted to partner Harry Maguire over the coming years, with the Real Madrid star reportedly set to be given a five-year contract.
Meanwhile, regarding Ronaldo, Patrice Evra claimed last year that the Juventus star had previously agreed to return prior to Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
“You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this is the one,” Evra told club media in 2020.
“Two weeks before that, I remember there was a lot of media saying Ferguson will maybe retire next year, and he said, ‘Patrice, I will never retire. I will be here another 10 years’.
“He then said: ‘My target is I’m 99 per cent sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. I just need these two players to win the Champions League again. Ninety-nine per cent.’
“And to be fair, when I speak with Cristiano, I ask him and he said yes to the boss, and was coming to join United. He told me this.”
Evra then revealed how Ferguson’s retirement ended any hopes of Ronaldo coming back, while also devastating players within the dressing room.
“After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting,” he said.
“When we arrived at Carrington, I see all those cameras and I was like: ‘Wow, someone has done something wrong. Maybe a player is the story again! Someone has done something wrong, we are in trouble.’
“But we arrived and people said, ‘Guys, you have to stay in the dressing room because the boss wants to have a chat’. And when the boss came into the dressing room to talk to everyone, it’s never good news.
“He came, and he said, ‘I’m really sorry. Some people have said that I’m going to retire even before I say it myself. That’s why you saw all those cameras. But I will retire because my wife needs me’. He apologised to [Robin] van Persie, he apologised to Shinji [Kagawa], because he just brought them. He apologised to them especially.”
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