Sir Alex Ferguson believes Real Madrid got a bargain when they paid a world record fee of £80million for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Manchester United paid £12.6million for the Portuguese youngster in the summer of 2003, shortly after they sold David Beckham to Los Blancos. The former Sporting Lisbon ace soon became a firm favourite at Old Trafford, and by the time he left the club six years later, he was already on the way to being one of the best players on the planet.
Ronaldo won three league titles and a UEFA Champions League during his time in Manchester, and although he has just one title and one Spanish Cup from his four years at the Bernabeu so far, his own performances have been utterly stunning. The 29-year-old has scored an incredible 169 goals in 157 La Liga matches, 46 goals in as many Champions League appearances, and 20 goals in 26 domestic cup outings.
The forward recently signed a new deal which is likely to keep him in the Spanish capital for the rest of his career, and all of a sudden, the £80million fee Real paid for his signature looks an absolute snip. Yet this is no surprise to Ferguson, who has now claimed he advised United to hold on for a whopping £150million before agreeing to sell the player.
“I told David Gill to ask for £150million,” the former Reds boss told AS. “(Florentino) Perez would have paid. The only thing that hurt me, and I said this repeatedly to David Gill, was that we didn’t demand enough. I told David, ‘Ask for £150million’. He said, ‘Don’t be silly. They’ll never pay £150million’. We signed the deal. I think it cost £80million but I’ll always wonder what Mr Perez would have said if we’d asked for £150million.
“Considering the fact that they signed Gareth Bale for £85million, I think he would have agreed to pay between £80million and £150million. I’m sure he would have because Perez knew the quality of player he was receiving, as shown by his time at United. Furthermore he was only 23 (sic – 24). That is the only disappointing aspect.”
Ronaldo, meanwhile, was on the mark again on Sunday afternoon, as his goal rescued a point for Real in a 2-2 draw at city rivals Atletico. This result has cut their lead at the top of La Liga table to just a point above Barcelona, whilst the Vicente Calderon side are still just three points behind, in a tight race which still has 12 games to run.