Rio Ferdinand: Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Karim Benzema so badly ‘Lyon officials had to pull him away’
Sir Alex Ferguson was so desperate to sign Karim Benzema ‘Lyon officials had to pull him out of the tunnel,’ reveals Rio Ferdinand – before the French star later disapproved of Manchester United for Real Madrid.
- Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s main man for nearly 12 seasons
- Rio Ferdinand claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson was chasing the Frenchman in 2008
- Benzema first caught Ferguson’s attention by scoring against Man United that year
- Ferguson should be pulled away by Lyon officials after the game
- Benzema joined Real Madrid in 2009 – and United signed Michael Owen instead
Rio Ferdinand claims Sir Alex Ferguson was desperate to sign Karim Benzema for Manchester United before joining Real Madrid.
The French striker has been a regular option for the LaLiga giants since moving from Lyon in 2009, scoring 227 goals in 12 seasons and leading Los Blancos to 18 major trophies.
Benzema first caught Ferguson’s attention when he scored for Lyon in the 2007-08 Champions League match against United, with Ferdinand claiming the Scot should be dragged away from the attacker by officials at the French club.
Rio Ferdinand claimed Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Karim Benzema before joining Real Madrid
Benzema first caught the ex-Manchester United boss’s attention by scoring against the club in 2008
Ferdinand told BT Sport about facing Benzema for United in 2008: ‘The first time I played him Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him.
He spoke to him in the tunnel after the game and the Lyon officials had to pull him away. His movement that day was brilliant. ‘
Benzema eventually moved to Madrid more than a year later in a £ 30 million move, turning down a move to Ferguson, who had just won the Premier League title and reached the Champions League final.
Ferdinand claimed that Ferguson had to be towed away from Benzema after the game
Michael Owen, who was United’s sole striker in the summer of 2009, revealed that Benzema’s rejection of the Red Devils was the only reason he made the switch to Old Trafford after a free transfer from Newcastle.
The former United striker claimed: ‘I only came to United because he chose Real Madrid instead of United. The first time I got a call from Sir Alex Ferguson, he said, “We want to draw Benzema, if we don’t get it … (we’ll get you.)”
The 34-year-old is once again experiencing a top season with the Spanish giants, with 28 goals in all competitions this season entering the Champions League semi-finals with Chelsea on Wednesday evening.
Ferguson was disappointed in the summer of 2009 when Benzema moved to Spain
United snapped Michael Owen on a free transfer that summer after Benzema’s disapproval
Michael Owen admitted that Benzema is currently benefiting from the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer part of the Real Madrid team.
The Portuguese forward joined Juventus in a £ 100 million move in the summer of 2018 and Benzema has since scored 85 goals in 142 games.
Owen claimed, ‘He’s in excellent shape. Who won’t be in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo when he’s at your club?
‘He has different finishes with both feet. He is brilliant in the air, he places or goes for power. He can also connect.
Michael Owen and Joe Cole praised Benzema, who has scored 227 goals for Madrid
“He’s got power when he needs it, he’s brilliant in the air and when he sees an opportunity, he knows his teammate next to him, but I’m the striker – I’m the selfish one.”
Joe Cole, meanwhile, claims Benzema has been the most popular striker in the world in recent years, aside from his former Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo.
The former Chelsea midfielder added: “I have played against him many times and in the last 10, 15 years – aside from Ronaldo – he has been the most dangerous striker.”