Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo had agreed to rejoin the club back in 2013, while he has also opened up on Sir Alex Ferguson's plan to further bolster his squad by bringing in Gareth Bale.
Ronaldo left for Real Madrid in 2009 for a then-world record £80m fee. The Portuguese superstar seemingly managed to deal with the weight of expectation placed on his shoulders just fine, managing just the 450 goals in 438 appearances in all competitions.
However, former United defender Evra has now opened up on Ferguson's plans to re-sign the forward as well as then-Tottenham star Bale in order to compete for the Champions League. Evra also spoke about Fergie's decision to retire, despite the boss telling him he would carry on for many more years.
Speaking in a UTD Podcast episode, the Frenchman said: "You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this [Ferguson's retirement] is the one.
"Two weeks before that, I remember there was a lot of media saying Ferguson will maybe retire next year, and he said, 'Patrice, I will never retire. I will be here another 10 years’. He then said: 'My target is I'm 99% sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, I just need these two players to win the Champions League again, 99%.’
“And to be fair, when I speak with Cristiano, I ask him and he said yes to the boss, and was coming to join United. He told me this.”
In the end, however, Ronaldo ended up staying put at Madrid and continued scoring goals for fun, while Bale soon joined him at Los Blancos. The Welshman secured a move to the Bernabeu in 2013.
Evra went on to discuss how Ferguson decided to tell his players that he was retiring. Most notably, the left-back added that he apologised to new arrivals Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa.
“After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting," Evra continued. "When we arrived at Carrington, I see all those cameras and I was like: ‘Wow, someone has done something wrong. Maybe a player is the story again! Someone has done something wrong, we are in trouble'.
“But we arrived and people said, 'Guys, you have to stay in the dressing room because the boss wants to have a chat'. He [Ferguson] came, and he said, 'I'm really sorry. Some people have said that I'm going to retire even before I say it myself. That's why you saw all those cameras. But I will retire because my wife needs me’.
"He apologised to [Robin] van Persie, he apologised to Shinji [Kagawa], because he just brought them. He apologised to them especially.”