Rio Ferdinand revealed he was on the phone directly with Cristiano Ronaldo as soon as he learned of his ties to Manchester City.
Ronaldo seemed destined for a move to the Manchester blue half until Friday afternoon, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke openly about the prospects of a return to Old Trafford before City withdrew their interest.
Ferdinand said Ronaldo’s mind was ‘all over the place’ as he tried to settle his future at Juventus in what were a whirlwind couple of days for the Portuguese star.
Rio Ferdinand revealed he had called Cristiano Ronaldo about his ties to Manchester City
“I called him right away,” said Ferdinand in his… Atmosphere with Five YouTube channel. “I said, ‘What’s the matter? Tell me you’re lying.’
“At that time we saw in the media and I don’t think City had bid, but talks were held and City showed their hand.
“You can’t sit here and go ‘it didn’t happen’ – there is no smoke without fire. (I said to Ronaldo) “Say you’re not going there, tell me – I know you’re not going there”. I have it on my phone. I tried to get every type of “no, no, no, no, no” into the conversation.
‘I am just like all fans, exactly the same. I was like, “Can you speak? Let me speak to you quickly.” I don’t want my kids to see Ronaldo run away in a Manchester City kit.
“I think the most important thing is that the head was all over the place. It never made sense, after the initial fear that my heart rate would return to that level.’
Despite all the fear among United fans that Ronaldo would appear in Manchester blue, Ferdinand explained that there was a circumstance in which he would have been willing to accept Ronaldo at City.
“The players respect and understand the fans, but at the same time it’s a matter,” Ferdinand said. “Players have to be businesslike in this situation.
“And at the end of the day, when City is close to Ronaldo, that has to be looked at. That’s a fact. If they are the only club that can buy Ronaldo that can buy him and get into that ballpark, then as an ex United player and Ronaldo teammate, I would respect that.
“I wouldn’t like it, I would have gone crazy like any fan, but what do you want him to do in the end?
“The difference is whether Man United is at the table and City is at the table and he chooses to go to City. Then you have the right to be bullied.
“I’m sure when United come to the table talking about Ronaldo and you have other teams sitting there, his head won’t be turned. He’s not that type. He understands and respects his legacy.”
Ferdinand was questioned about what Sir Alex Ferguson would have thought if Ronaldo joined City.
“Everything I just said,” Ferdinand replied. He would have hated to see Ronaldo in a Manchester City shirt, just like anyone else who has long been associated with this football club.
United supporters have praised ‘agent’ Rio Ferdinand after their former defender appeared to confirm Cristiano Ronaldo was ready for an emotional return.
Ferdinand posted a video of him grinning after teasing Ronaldo’s Manchester United reunion
And Ferdinand seemed to have been ahead of the news from the start, after he posted a cryptic tweet that immediately sparked a wild response online.
After it emerged that United were approaching the superstar, he continued his first post with a video of him bursting into an omniscient and sassy grin.
In the replies, United fans have, unsurprisingly, been reduced to hysterics with many pleas to recognize Ferdinand for every role he played in the move.
“Rio Ferdinand’s statute outside Old Trafford is now needed,” said one user.
“Agent Rio, I love you forever,” added another.
English cricketer Sam Billings also used the same name for Ferdinand, writing: ‘Agent Rio…never in doubt!’
YouTuber Yung Chip, meanwhile, simply said, “I love you.”
A first cryptic tweet from Ferdinand on Friday morning had sent United fans into a meltdown
United supporters even jokingly called for Ferdinand to build a statue outside Old Trafford
The praise just kept coming, with a fifth user posting, “I’m crying my heart out.”
‘You really got us’ [Raphael] Varane and Ronaldo in this window ffs, how can we repay you?’ wrote another supporter.
A seventh said boldly, “The best defense of your career was tackling that ridiculous City move.”
“You called him personally, didn’t you?” asked another overwhelmed fan.
Another stunned fan admitted they ‘screamed their hearts out’ with Ronaldo about to come back
According to ESPN, a number of players who were stunned with Ronaldo at United messaged him in the early hours of today warning him that he was in danger of ruining his legacy.
This would have turned his head, and it now seems only a matter of time before his sensational homecoming is confirmed.
Ronaldo said goodbye to his Juventus team-mates today with a short 40-minute trip to their training ground when a move to City beckoned.
Crossing into the blue half of Manchester threatened to spoil the memories of Ronaldo’s first stint at United, but City have now withdrawn.
Ronaldo arrived at the Juventus training ground at 9.20 am on Friday morning to say goodbye
United are now in pole position to sign Ronaldo after Manchester City dropped out of the race
Before that explosive burst into the public eye, Ferdinand tweeted a photo of Leonardo Di Caprio from the 2013 movie The Great Gatsby.
The video that followed seems to have confirmed early suspicions, with some reports even suggesting that Ronaldo will undergo his medical examination in Lisbon.
His agent, Jorge Mendes, was in talks with City but Juventus, who wanted £25m to give the green light, threatened to become a stumbling block.
The Manchester Evening News believe United submitted a contract for Ronaldo this morning after a late intervention by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.
Legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson is reported to have spoken to Ronaldo in one last breather
A two-year deal is expected to be signed and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer publicly admitted during his press conference that United were interested in a reunion.
“Ronaldo is a legend of the club and the best player of all time, if you ask me,” said the United boss. “I didn’t think he would leave Juventus.
“We have always had good communication and I know that Bruno (Fernandes) has spoken with him.
“He knows how we feel about him. If he ever leaves Juventus, he knows we are here.
Ronaldo has officially told Juventus he wants to leave, but his club is waiting for compensation
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted during his press conference that United were interested in Ronaldo
“If you’re Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba or Bruno, you need to read a lot about yourself. Let’s see what happens to Cristiano because he is a legend of this club.
“I don’t want to speculate too much about Cristiano. We’re focusing on the ones we have here.
“I’ve often said that if you’re Man United or (Lionel) Messi, Ronaldo, you read a lot about yourself.
“I was lucky enough to play with him and coach him. Everyone who has played with him has a soft spot for him.’