Manchester City dispute Cristiano Ronaldo interest before Manchester United return

    Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - October 2, 2022 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo before the match REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
    Cristiano Ronaldo claims he was close to moving to Manchester City (Reuters)

    Manchester City have distanced themselves from Cristiano Ronaldo’s claim that he was close to joining them ahead of Manchester United, according to reports.

    In the first part of his controversial interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, Ronaldo suggested that he had the opportunity to join City before Sir Alex Ferguson stepped in to convince him to return to United.

    ‘I think it was, it was the key,’ Ronaldo said when asked about Ferguson’s influence.

    ‘It was the difference in that moment, but I cannot be loyal if I will. I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close. But I think I did a conscious decision.

    ‘I don’t regret it at any point. And as you mentioned before, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key.’

    However, ESPN report that Ronaldo’s account is ‘not reflective’ of the situation at the time and City claim their interest in signing the 37-year-old was ‘mild’.

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United meets Cristiano Ronaldo at Carrington Training Ground on September 07, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Manchester United/Manchester United)
    Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United last year (Man Utd/Getty)

    The report also claims that United are ‘furious’ with Ronaldo’s claim that the club have not progressed since Ferguson retired in 2013.

    Speaking about United’s lack of progression in his opinion, Ronaldo said: ‘When I signed for Manchester United, I thought everything had changed because it’s 13 years since I change. I was in Real Madrid nine years and three in Juventus.

    ‘And when I arrived, I thought everything will be different, you know, the technology, the infrastructures and everything. But I was surprised, in a bad way, let’s say in that way… because I saw, everything was the same.

    ‘And Manchester it wasn’t in that moment. As you mentioned, Ole was sacked, Michael Carrick, assumed the job for two games. Villareal, and Chelsea away, and everything was so fast and it surprised me a lot, the instability in the club. Everything was kind of the same.

    ‘They stopped on a clock, in my opinion, which is something that surprised me.

    ‘I didn’t expect. And slowly and slowly they start to change even the windows, the new players and, it was tough, it was tough for me, because I didn’t expect that.

    ‘I was surprised. I thought when I signed and they signed in that year Sancho, and Varane, plus me, that things will be in the way that Manchester should be.

    ‘Sir Alex Ferguson left a big gap in the club, not only Sir Alex Ferguson, one person that I thought made the difference; David Gill, the president, is a very very good man. And the structure around Sir Alex Ferguson was very important too. I knew that Manchester United wasn’t the same.

    ‘But don’t see that it was such a big gap. So big things that have gone through in the last ten years, and it was the thing that surprised me more, to be honest.’

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