Rio Ferdinand Reveals What Happened When Sir Alex Ferguson Wanted to Sign 18-Year-Old Cristiano Ronaldo

Rio Ferdinand reveals that Man Utd players were moaning on the team bus while Sir Alex Ferguson did deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting CP.

Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2003 at the age of 18, thanks to the decisiveness of Sir Alex Ferguson, which helped Man Utd to win the race to sign the talented youngster,

The deal to sign Ronaldo happened when United accepted a late request to play a friendly game against the Portuguese club in the summer of 2003. They were the opponents for the first game at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

In the faithful outing, an 18-year-old Ronaldo ran rings around several of United’s most experienced defenders, including Rio Ferdinand. In fact, Cristiano stole the show of the day, according to Ferdinand, who was taken aback by the talent the teenager possessed.

Before Ronaldo’s Man Utd signature, Arsene Wenger, the then manager of Arsenal FC, had been hopeful of landing Ronaldo that summer to his star-studded Arsenal side. But it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s speed of thought and smartness that helped United to win the race for Ronaldo’s signature. Even though it meant his players were left in the team bus wondering where he had disappeared as he went to discuss the deal.

Rio Ferdinand Reveals How the Deal Happened

“He started there,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “We arrived there coming back from America on tour, this was the last leg everyone was knackered, jet-lagged, etc and we got asked to play in it late.”

He continued, “We obviously got there, opened the stadium, we came off that pitch and anyone who didn’t know about Cristiano Ronaldo before we got there definitely did by the time we left. When we got to the stadium in the pre-match warm-up people started, it got around and people saying that kid there he’s meant to be a superstar.”

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“Bearing in mind we’d missed out on signing Ronaldinho as well that summer. We were still on the search for a superstar but we didn’t see it coming in the form of a young teenager,” Ferdinand adds. “But by the time the game finished all the players were saying to the manager wow are we going to get him.”

Ferdinand then revealed that they would later be delayed an hour, as Sir Alex Ferguson and the chief executive at the time went to complete Ronaldo’s deal.

“We were sat on the couch after where are we going delayed an hour want to get home after a big tour and the manager and David Gill, the chief executive at the time, were upstairs doing a deal trying to sign him got him straight away, great recruitment,” he said.”

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