MANCHESTER CITY were surprised to hear Cristiano Ronaldo claim he came "close" to moving to the Etihad in the summer of 2021.
Pep Guardiola’s men briefly explored a move for the Portuguese legend after their move for Harry Kane fell through.
However, the champions felt Ronaldo’s account of events – in his explosive interview with Piers Morgan this week – was not reflective of what really happened.
He claimed Sir Alex Ferguson talked him down from joining the blue half of town and turned him back towards the Red Devils during a dramatic week in August 2021.
While City are not denying they showed an interest, the suggestion they pushed hard to sign him from Juventus raised a few eyebrows.
It was unlikely they would have made a formal offer even if their neighbours had not made an eleventh-hour move.
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In the end, Guardiola decided to go with the players he had and keep their powder dry for a move for Erling Haaland.
Ronaldo told Piers on the potential of going to the Etihad: "Well, honestly, it was close. They spoke a lot and 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.
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"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'.
"It was a good moment, nobody expected it. Things changed around in 72 hours. You plan or they spoke, not only Man City but other clubs too. Manchester United wasn't part of those teams but it surprised everybody, even me."
Ronaldo also revealed he thinks just three United players give 100 per cent – and two of those are summer signings – and continued his row with Wayne Rooney in part one of the interview.
The Portuguese forward, 37, also had his say on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking, his dismay at Ralf Rangnick's appointment and his lack of respect for Erik ten Hag.
- Watch the second part of ‘Piers Morgan Uncensored: 90 Minutes with Ronaldo’, 8pm on Thursday on TalkTV. Find TalkTV on Sky 526, Virgin Media 606, Freeview 237, Freesat 217 and Sky Glass 508, live and on demand on the TalkTV app, streaming services and at Talk.TV
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