x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ferguson expected Ronaldo to leave

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United did well to keep Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford for as long as they did.

Sir Alex Ferguson, right, says that Manchester United could not have kept Cristiano Ronaldo any longer.
Sir Alex Ferguson, right, says that Manchester United could not have kept Cristiano Ronaldo any longer.

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United did well to keep Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford for as long as they did before finally succumbing to Real Madrid's advances. United's acceptance of Real's £80 million (Dh483m) bid for the Portugal forward earlier this week brought an end to one of the longest-running transfer sagas of recent years. Ronaldo's desire to leave the reigning English Premier League champions had become all too apparent in recent months, and Ferguson insists it was out of the question to expect the player to stay any longer. "He wanted to leave, it's as simple as that," Ferguson told The Mail on Sunday. "He was going to go some time. "We've done well to keep him for so long."

Ferguson's former assistant manager Carlos Queiroz believes Ronaldo's loyalty cannot be questioned despite his desire to leave for Real Madrid. Queiroz, a former Real Madrid boss who also knows Ronaldo from his current post as Portugal coach, feels the 24-year-old has always been a consummate professional. "When you talk about loyalty, you must understand the loyalty has two directions," Queiroz, who enjoyed two spells as Sir Alex Ferguson's number two, told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme. "In terms of the modern game, loyalty is to be a great professional, to be committed to the club, to be engaged with the coach and the vision of the club and nobody can put one thing against Cristiano because as a professional he's brilliant.

"But as you know with 95 per cent or 96 per cent of movement in football it is the managers at the clubs that dictate the movements. "Once in a while some of the top players have the capacity and the power to create their own motivation." Madrid's record swoop for the Fifa World Player of the Year is set to be concluded by June 30. * PA Sport