Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that he was ‘close’ to joining Manchester City last summer, before his ‘heart’ convinced him to make a sensational return to Manchester United instead.
At the time, Ronaldo was heavily linked with City while in the process of leaving Juventus. At one stage it even appeared as though City would get a deal done, until United swooped in.
Now, the 37-year-old has revealed just how keen City were to have him and how invested Pep Guardiola was in making it a reality.
“Honestly, it was close,” Ronaldo confirmed in his lengthy interview with TalkTV. “It was something that they spoke about a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried hard to have me.
“But as you know, [because of] my history with Manchester United, your heart, your feeling, what you did before, made the difference of course – and as well, Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I was surprised in some way, but it was a conscience decision because the heart was speaking loud in that moment.”
However, it wasn’t long before things turned sour for Ronaldo back at United. He finished the season with 24 goals in all competitions but the club ensured its worst season in Premier League history and Ronaldo asked to leave during the summer.
His interview now has only worsened relations but things were already starting to tear last season when Ralf Rangnick, who Ronaldo claims he had never heard was appointed as interim manager when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked.
“After Ole, they bring a sport director, Ralf Rangnick, which is something nobody understands. This guy is not even a coach. A big club like Manchester United bringing a sport director surprised not only me but all the world,” Ronaldo said.
“If you’re not even a coach, how are you going to be the boss of Manchester United? It’s something that I should say that Manchester has followed not the right way to reach the success of other teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea.
“…they are one step behind or two because of these kind of mistakes.
“No [I’d never heard of him]. Of course not. Nobody, the people who I spoke to knew. I respect [him], all the coaches in my career I had to call them the boss, but deep inside me I never saw him as the boss because I saw some points that I never agreed. He stopped in time as well because if you’re not being a coach for the last five years, you’re going to lose your identity as a coach.”