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Cristiano Ronaldo reveals he was ‘close’ to joining Manchester City before Manchester United return

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he was close to joining Manchester City before returning to Manchester United in the summer of 2021.

City were in the market for a forward and reportedly made a push to sign Ronaldo from Juventus.

However, a late change of heart saw Ronaldo decide to head back to Old Trafford, where he previously enjoyed tremendous success between 2003 and 2009.

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“Honestly, it [moving to City] was close,” Ronaldo told Piers Morgan in the latest part of his much-discussed interview.

“They spoke a lot and [Manchester boss Pep] Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried hard to have me..

“But, as you know, my history is in Manchester United. Your heart, you’re feeling the way you did before, and it made the difference. And of course, as well, Sir Alex Ferguson. It was a conscious decision because the heart speaks loud in that moment.

“I think it [speaking with Ferguson] was the key. I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close. But I think, I did [make] a conscious decision. I don’t regret at some point.

“And as you mentioned before, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key. I spoke with him… He said to me that, ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City’. And I said ‘OK, Boss’.

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“So I took the decisions and I repeat: I was with conscience that it was a good decision.”

The revelation that Ronaldo nearly signed for City is perhaps one of the least controversial parts of an explosive interview.

Ronaldo has said he felt “betrayed” by Manchester United and that the club “doubted” him when he missed some of pre-season as his three-month daughter was in hospital.

He has continued to criticise United by saying the club has been in standstill since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.

“When I signed for Manchester United…I thought everything would be different, you know, the technology, the infrastructures and everything. But I was surprised, in a bad way, let’s say in that way, because I saw everything was the same.

“They stopped on a clock, in my opinion, which is something that surprised me.

“At United, the progress was zero, in my opinion. To compare with Real Madrid and even Juventus, they follow the rest of the world. So the technology, especially in terms of training, nutrition and conditions of eating properly and recovering better than before – surprised me.

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“Manchester right now, to compare with that club, I think it’s behind in my opinion, which is something that surprised me. A club with this dimension should be the top of the tree in my opinion and they are not, unfortunately. They are not in that level. But I hope the next years they can reach to be in a top level.

“I don’t know what’s going on but since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero.”

Ronaldo, who will miss Portugal’s pre-World Cup friendly against Nigeria due to illness, also says he sees himself as a good example for young players.

“I’m not the kind of guy who likes to give advice as I prefer to be an example. Because I’m an example,” he said.

“I’m there every morning and do the same stuff. I’m probably the first one to arrive and the last one to go out. I think the details speak for itself. This is why I say, I like to lead by example.”

Ronaldo added that he thinks the younger generation don’t have the same “hunger” as he did.

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“The mentality is not the same. They have things more easily. They don’t suffer.

“[In] all leagues in the world, the youngest [players] now, they are not the same as my generation. But we cannot blame them because, it’s part of the life, you know.

“The new generation and the new technologies, they distract them. But they are not the same [in the way] that they listen but this is why we have two ears, as you listen from one side and they go away from another side.

“So, it doesn’t surprise me. But in the same way it’s a little bit [of a] shame because if they have the best examples in front of eyes, and if they don’t, at least copy what [they] did.

“For me, it’s kind of weird, because I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, I always looked to see the best players: [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, [Rio] Ferdinand, Roy Keane, and [Ryan] Giggs – this is why I have the success that I have and longevity. Because I take care of my body, my mentality, my head, because I see these guys and I learn from them.”

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