Patrice Evra has revealed that former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was “99 per cent sure” that he would bring Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to Old Trafford in 2013.
The 2012/13 campaign proved to be Ferguson’s last at United and the Scotsman bowed out by winning his 13th Premier League title, with the Red Devils knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.
Ferguson had a stellar track record of renewing the talent pool at Old Trafford throughout his tenure and speaking to the UTD podcast, Evra described how the manager was close to doing so again in 2013.
The French defender claimed that Ferguson’s master plan was to bring Ronaldo back to his former club and sign Bale from Tottenham, a plan that almost came off.
Evra claimed that Ferguson said: “My target is I’m 99 per cent sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. I just need these two players to win the Champions League again. Ninety-nine per cent.
“And to be fair, when I speak with Cristiano, I ask him and he said yes to the boss, and was coming to join United. He told me this,” Evra added.
Ronaldo remained at Madrid, going on to collect five Champions League winners’ medals with the club before moving to Juventus.
Bale, meanwhile, became the then-most expensive player in the world in the summer of 2013 with a move to the Spanish capital.
As for Ferguson, the manager retired at the end of that campaign, a decision which Evra admitted took him by surprise.
“After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting,” the former defender said. “When we arrived at Carrington, I see all those cameras and I was like: ‘Wow, someone has done something wrong.
“Maybe a player is the story again! Someone has done something wrong, we are in trouble’.
“But we arrived and people said, ‘Guys, you have to stay in the dressing room because the boss wants to have a chat’. And when the boss came into the dressing room to talk to everyone, it’s never good news.
“He came, and he said, ‘I’m really sorry. Some people have said that I’m going to retire even before I say it myself. That’s why you saw all those cameras. But I will retire because my wife needs me’.
“He apologised to [Robin] van Persie, he apologised to Shinji [Kagawa], because he just brought them. He apologised to them especially.”
United have won the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Community Shield and the Europa League since Ferguson’s departure but have largely struggled.
David Moyes – Ferguson’s immediate successor – failed to last one season of his six-year deal, while Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho were also shown the door.
In other news, current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been told to axe Paul Pogba if he wants to move the club to the next level.