February 4, 2023

Manchester City have distanced themselves from Cristiano Ronaldo’s claim that he was close to joining them ahead of Manchester United, according to reports.

In the first part of his controversial interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, Ronaldo suggested that he had the opportunity to join City before Sir Alex Ferguson stepped in to convince him to return to United.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford from Juventus in August 2021 – 11 years after he left the club to join Real Madrid.

At the time it was reported he was wanted by City boss Pep Guardiola and, although Ronaldo confirmed the interest, he said he decided to sign for United after speaking with his old manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ronaldo sent shockwaves through the red side of Manchester with an outspoken interview with Piers Morgan, where he has made a number of critical claims against United’s owners, management, players and ambition.

He also discussed his prospective move to City, Ronaldo said it was only the intervention of Sir Alex Ferguson that stopped him from joining United’s fierce rivals.

He said: “I think it was the key, it was the difference in that moment, but I cannot be loyal if I will, I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close. “I spoke with Ferguson. He said to me that, ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City,’ and I say, ‘OK, boss.’

However, ESPN report that Ronaldo’s account is ‘not reflective’ of the situation at the time and City claim their interest in signing the 37-year-old was ‘mild’.

City were interested in signing Ronaldo, but deny trying hard to bring him to the Etihad to the extent Ronaldo claims, and Guardiola has previously denied that City would have signed the forward if he hadn’t signed for United.

The Blues went without a striker for the 2021/22 season, and then signed Erling Haaland this summer who has 23 goals in his first 18 appearances for the club.

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