Sir Alex Ferguson went to Madrid to have a dinner with Cristiano Ronaldo after the Champions League game between Real Madrid and Schalke 04 in order to convince him to return to Manchester United during the summer transfer window, El Confidencial has revealed. But the meeting never happened as the Portuguese star decided to cancel it after Los Blancos suffered a 4-3 defeat by the Bundesliga side.
The Spanish publication claimed that Ronaldo decided to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu but the chance to return to United or join Paris Saint Germain was "real" as he felt club president Florentino Perez favoured protege Gareth Bale.
El Confidencial added that Ronaldo's decision to leave Los Blancos came after Perez last season approached the Portuguese star to tell him that despite his 61 goals in 54 appearances for the club he was not the same pacy player he used to be. So the Real Madrid star urged his agent to find a new club, with both United and PSG interested.
This is led Ferguson to make the trip to Madrid on 10 March to persuade Ronaldo to go back to Old Trafford. A table was booked at Madrid's Ultramarinos Quintín restaurant but Ronaldo cancelled as he was disappointed after Madrid's defeat against Schalke.
Ronaldo later decided to stay one more season at the Bernabeu where on Saturday 12 September he passed Raul as Real Madrid's all-time La Liga top scorer after netting five goals in the 6-0 victory over Espanyol.
The news from El Confidencial came just days after Perez refused to confirm that Ronaldo will stay at the club next season despite still being under contract. Perez had previously claimed that the former United star will hang up his boots in La Liga giants but speaking during an interview with Cadena Cope was more enigmatic – reiterating the player's importance for the club but saying the future for every football is always uncertain.
"It's impossible to have Real Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo. He has a contract and we want him to continue here in the future, but who knows what the future holds. As of right now, it's impossible to have Real Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo. He's the most recognizable and the best player in the world," he said. "If PSG want Cristiano, they'll have to pay his €1bn (£0.7bn, $1.2bn) release clause and sign him."