Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson convinced him to join Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon in 2004.
The Portuguese winger played against Man United in a pre-season friendly for the opening of Sporting’s new stadium, where he was so impressive that United’s players told Ferguson to buy him on the plane home, or so the story goes.
Ronaldo insisted that Man United are obviously an attraction to any footballer, as is the Premier League, but that Ferguson’s words made him sure that he wanted to join the Reds.
“With Manchester United, I have a great passion. I say that every time,” Ronaldo said.
“It was like a dream. What [agent] Jorges Mendes did for me when I was 18 was to put me in one of the best clubs in the world with the words of Sir Alex Ferguson – it was a dream to play at Sporting and move to Manchester.
“It was great because Jorges gave me his words and Sir Alex Ferguson gave me his words. I respect the people who tell me something and it happens. This guy will be my friend, my family, with me for the rest of my life.”
Ronaldo says Ferguson convinced him to join United with just a few words: “It’s people that I trust, that I like and people I love. When Sir Alex Ferguson said ‘Cristiano – I want you to come to Manchester United, you will play 50 per cent of the games’, is unbelievable – the last word was the key to signing for Manchester United.”
Ronaldo was speaking ahead of the world premiere of the new film documenting his rise to becoming one of the world’s greatest ever footballers, Ronaldo. United fans will be scrambling to watch it, with it available in cinemas for only one night before becoming available on DVD and iTunes following the world premiere on Monday night, where Ferguson was present.