Evra on Ronaldo's failed United return

English Premier League

Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo was on the verge of returning to Old Trafford, only for Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement to scupper the move.

Four years after completing a then world-record £80 million (R1.8 billion) move to Real Madrid, Ronaldo was reportedly close to making a return to United after growing disillusioned under then-Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho. 

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Evra has now claimed that former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had put measures in place to facilitate the Portugal superstar's return to Old Trafford as part of his plans to reclaim the UEFA Champions League title.

"You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this [Fergie's retirement] is the one," Evra told the UTD Podcast.

"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."

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However, any thought of Ronaldo returning to the Premier League was ended in 2013, when Ferguson confirmed that he would, in fact, be retiring from the game. 

"After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting," Evra added.

"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'. And when the boss came into the dressing room to talk to everyone, it's never good news.

"He 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."