Sir Alex Ferguson has shed light on the record breaking deal which saw Cristiano Ronaldo move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009.
The legendary manager, who stepped down in the summer after a glittering career at Old Trafford, describes in his autobiography -entitled Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography and available from Thursday- how Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon's relentless pursuit and attitude towards Ronaldo led him to turn down the Portuguese star's dream move.
Ferguson eventually accepted a world-record £80million offer from Los Blancos in 2009, but completely ruled out Ronaldo moving the year before, even though the star wanted the switch.
The Scot revealed that he believed the only reason the offer came in, was because Florentino Perez wanted to secure his presidency.
"Madrid paid £80 million in cash for him, and do you know why? It was a way for Florentino Perez, their president, to say to the world, ‘We are Real Madrid, we are the biggest of the lot'," Ferguson writes.
However Fergie understood that selling his prized asset had become a very real possibility, and so agreed a 'gentlemen's agreement' with Ronaldo.
"When the possibility of him leaving edged towards being a probability, I reached a gentleman’s agreement with him.
"I went to Carlos’s house in Portugal to find the boy expressing an urge to go to Real Madrid, and told him: 'You can’t go this year, not after the way Calderon has approached the issue'.
"I said, ‘I know you want to go to Real Madrid. But I’d rather shoot you than sell you to that guy now. If you perform, don’t mess us about, and someone comes and offers a world record fee, then we will let you go.’
"I did well to calm him down. I told him that the reason I was refusing to sell him that year was because of Calderon. I said, ‘If I do that, all my honour’s gone, everything’s gone for me, and I don’t care if you have to sit in the stands. I know it won’t come to that, but I just have to tell you I will not let you leave this year'."
A deal was eventually agreed in 2009 and Ronaldo became the most expensive player in history when he joined Madrid.