Exclusive: Rio Ferdinand reveals Cristiano Ronaldo phoned him before United return
"He knew in no uncertain terms how I felt."
Rio Ferdinand has revealed that, despite stating previously that he called Cristiano Ronaldo to convince him not to join Manchester City, it was actually Ronaldo who called him.
In an exclusive interview with JOE, the former Manchester United defender remarked upon on the charm offensive employed by numerous United legends at the time when Ronaldo looked bound for the Etihad.
"Cristiano rang me, I didn't ring him," he said.
"We spoke and stuff, there was a bit of back and forth, other conversations with other people at the club.
"Listen, for anyone connected with Manchester United, the thought of him pulling on a City shirt was enough to make you want to run and jump off a cliff. It was crazy.
"So you had to... People were thinking, 'Can you speak to him, can people get hold of him?'
"All the fans would have been the same, no-one wanted to see him go [to City].
"If he came back to the Premier League, why is he going to go anywhere else but Man United?"
Describing the situation as 'delicate', Ferdinand did not reveal the content of their conversation but said Ronaldo understood how a move to City would have affected his legacy among United fans.
"He knew in no uncertain terms how I felt," he added. "
Ronaldo's return has unsurprisingly sent shockwaves round the footballing world, with United fans eagerly anticipating the opportunity to watch the man who scored 118 goals for them between 2003 and 2009.
But the manic nature of the signing would suggest United's primary motivation behind the decision to bring him back was to save face, and prevent him going to City.
Or not, in Ferdinand's view. Responding to this suggestion, he asked: "Is that your view? That's why you're not a pundit."
What is certain, though, is that Ronaldo will guarantee a high volume of goals for United. With him leading the line, alongside the arrivals of Jadon Sancho on the right wing and Ronaldo's former teammate Raphael Varane in defence, Ferdinand believes the time has come for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to win his first trophy with the club.
"He's got to win a title, some form of competition," he said.
"To have the type of window we've had at Man United this year, it's a beautiful window, in terms of bringing in winning mentality, genuine leader, winners who understand how to go gruelling seasons and win things.
"This is Ole's squad now. This isn't, 'Oh, it's a bit of a hangover from the previous managers,' this is Ole's squad. And that brings pressure. But Ole will know that."
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