Madrid: Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo's 90 million Euro transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 is seen as a landmark moment in both clubs' history.
While for Real Madrid it marked the beginning of the career of a player at the Santiago Bernabeu who would become their all time highest goalscorer, for United, it marked the end of the team that many regard as the best Alex Ferguson had assembled in his 26-year-long reign at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo's transfer saga was however one that stretched on for a long time. Ferguson's disdain for Real Madrid's tendency to pay exorbitant fees to buy the biggest player in the world is one that he never attempted to hide and it is reported that he was even ready to sell Ronaldo to Real's arch-rivals Barcelona just to ensure that anyone but the Madrid giants would get his star forward.
According to AS, Real Madrid had reportedly agreed to pay Ronaldo's 75 million Euro-payout clause and Ferguson flew to Portugal to cut off Madrid's bid directly. The Spanish newspaper then says that Ferguson went on to contact Barcelona and encourage them to make a bid for Ronaldo.
In the end, however, Ferguson knew of Ronaldo's desire to join Real and this was key in the transfer to go through.
Ronaldo's fee was a record that stood for four years until Real broke it again to buy Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. Unlike many other players who have struggled to justify their record transfer fees however, Ronaldo would go on to become one of the greatest players in the club's history. His tally of a mind numbing 451 goals in just 438 appearances makes him the highest goalscorer overall in the club's history. He is also the all-time highest goalscorer for them in LaLiga and the Champions League.
Ronaldo and Ferguson have expressed their admiration for each other a number of times in the years since. Ronaldo has called Ferguson his father in footballing terms while Ferguson rated Ronaldo as one of four players he managed that he considers truly world-class along with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona.