Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Manchester United could have made £150m by selling Cristiano Ronaldo, rather than pocketing a mere £80m when the Portuguese star was allowed to swap Old Trafford for the Bernabeu in the summer of 2009 for a then world record transfer fee.
Fergie revealed that he had instructed former chief executive David Gill to demand a fee in the region of £150m, confident that Real Madrid president would have paid any amount of money to secure Ronaldo, but Gill was determined that not even the Spanish giants with their almost unlimited transfer funds would have been prepared to spend so much on a single player.
“I told David Gill to ask for £150 million. Perez would have paid,” Fergie told Spanish newspaper AS.
“The only thing that hurt me, and I said this repeatedly to David Gill, was that we didn’t demand enough.
“I told David, ‘Ask for £150m.’ ‘Don’t be silly,’ he said. ‘They’ll never pay that.'”
Having seen Gareth Bale moving to Real Madrid for £86m last summer, Fergie was left wondering whether he could have and should have got more for a player who scored 91 goals in his last three seasons at Old Trafford and has netted 238 in 233 games since joining the Merengues.
“I still keep asking myself what Senor Perez would have said if we had asked for £150m. Considering they signed Gareth Bale for £85 million, I believe they would have agreed to pay between £80 and £150 million.
“I am sure, because I know that Perez knew perfectly the quality of the player he was getting, as shown by Cristiano’s stats at United,” said Sir Alex.
“That is the only disappointing aspect. If we had got £150 million, I would have kept talking about it for the rest of my life, because it would have been fabulous to receive that amount of money, not just from Real Madrid but from any football club.
“Nevertheless, Cristiano left with my blessing and we received a fair amount.”
Considering that a large chunk of those £80m was syphoned away by the Glazers, we could have done with an extra £70m.