Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted he was flattered by the interest shown by Juventus in his Sporting Lisbon days, but insists it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s presence that tilted the scales in Manchester United’s favour.
The Real Madrid forward’s move from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United had made the headlines in 2003, but Ronaldo had always been subject to interest even prior to that.
Most notably, it was Juventus who came closest to sealing the deal for Ronaldo, with former club CEO Luciano Moggi revealing a last-minute move from Manchester United had scuppered their efforts.
“Was I close to joining Juventus?” Ronaldo was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport. “Let’s say that was one of the teams interested in me.
“At the time, it made me very happy because I was young and played in Portugal. But I chose Manchester United for its coach, and because I thought it was the place to grow.”
And one of his former Manchester United team-mates Carlos Tevez will be lining up against him when Juventus take on Real Madrid in the Champions League tonight.
“The years we had at Manchester United were beautiful and positive, playing well and winning so much together”, Ronaldo said of the Argentine.
“Tomorrow I hope that Juve lose. But if I have to choose a Juve player to take away it will be him only for our friendship.”