Rio Ferdinand revealed he got straight on the phone to Cristiano Ronaldo as soon as he learned of his links to Manchester City.
Ronaldo looked destined for a move to the blue half of Manchester until Friday afternoon, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer openly talked up the prospects of him returning to Old Trafford before City withdrew their interest.
United then sensationally confirmed the transfer on Friday afternoon, saying: ‘Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester.’
Ferdinand explained that Ronaldo’s head ‘was all over the place’ earlier in the week as he looked to sort out his future away from Juventus in what has been a whirlwind couple of days for the Portugal star.
‘I rang him straight away,’ Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel. ‘I said “what is going on? Tell me you’re lying.”
‘At that time, we were seeing in the media and I don’t think City had bid but conversations were being had and City were showing their hand.
‘You can’t sit here and go ‘it weren’t happening’ – there is no smoke without fire. (I said to Ronaldo) “tell me you ain’t going there , tell me – I know you ain’t going there”. I’ve got it on my phone. I was trying to get every type of “no, no, no, no, no” in the conversation.
‘I’m like all the fans, exactly the same. I was like “can you speak? Let me speak to you quickly”. I don’t want my kids seeing Ronaldo run out in a Manchester City kit.
‘I think the main thing is head was all over the place. There was never any point, after the initial scare, that my heart rate got to those levels again.’
For all the fears among United fans that Ronaldo was going to be turning out in Manchester blue, Ferdinand explained that there was a circumstance where he would have been prepared to accept Ronaldo at City.
‘The players do respect and understand the fans but at the same time it is a business,’ Ferdinand said. ‘Players have to be business-minded about this situation.
‘And at the end of the day, if City are in for Ronaldo that has to be looked at. That is a fact. If they are the only club in for Ronaldo that can buy him and get in that ball-park then as an ex-United player and team-mate of Ronaldo’s, I’d respect that.
‘I wouldn’t like it, I’d been going crazy like any fan but at the end of the day what do you want him to do? ‘The difference is if Man United are at the table and City are at the table and then he chose to go to City. That’s when you are in your rights to be peed off.
‘I know for a fact if United come to the table talking about Ronaldo and you have other teams sitting there, his head ain’t getting turned. He’s not that type of guy. He understands and respects his legacy.’
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