UTD Podcast: Cristiano said 'yes' to the boss
Patrice Evra has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson was close to finalising an audacious bid to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United in 2013 – and also planned to sign Gareth Bale.
Among the numerous topics discussed during the show, Patrice was asked about Sir Alex’s retirement in 2013, and our former defender admitted it came as a huge shock to him and his team-mates at the time.
UTD Podcast: 'Cristiano said yes'Video
“You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this is the one,”Evra reflected.
“Two weeks before that, I remember there was a lot of media saying Ferguson will maybe retire next year, and he said, 'Patrice, I will never retire. I will be here another 10 years’.
“He then 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.”
“After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting,”Patrice continued.
“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.”
Two legends, one bromance Gallery
Patrice Evra and Cristiano Ronaldo struck up a friendship at United that has stood the test of time.
“I just couldn't believe it. I thought it was like a prank again. I remember driving home – you know when you're driving but you're not there? I was just thinking: 'This is real? He's leaving?'
“My wife said, 'What's happened?' I said: 'Ferguson has retired.' She said: 'Oh, best news! Now I know next year we're leaving!' I said 'I'm not playing for Ferguson. I'm playing for the club. I'm playing for the badge, for the fans, and playing for the boss and my team-mates, so this won't be the reason why I will leave Manchester United.’
UTD Podcast: Evra reflects on Suarez incidentVideo
“But it was a tough day, because my philosophy with Ferguson... I've never been scared of Sir Alex Ferguson, but I've always been scared to disappoint him. To play in a bad game and to let him down.”
To hear every story from Patrice’s amazing UTD Podcast, make sure you listen to the entire 90-minute episode on Deezer, or your other podcast provider.