Manchester United record buy Angel di Maria has confirmed that he delayed his departure from Real Madrid at the behest of former Red Devils superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentine winger completed his move to Manchester United for a British record fee of £59.7 million before the close of the summer transfer window having fallen out of favour at Madrid following the arrival of both James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos.
He could have left the Bernabeu last season following the arrival of Gareth Bale for a world record fee, but after much speculation he opted to stay put - and now he has confirmed that he could have been a Manchester United player earlier if it wasn't for Ronaldo.
The truth is that I have a great relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo and I stayed at Madrid last season thanks to him," the Argentine told ESPN Radio.
"I left Madrid in the best possible way, by winning La Decima. In my farewell letter, I said exactly how I felt from the first day at the Bernabeu.
Although Ronaldo convinced him last time round there was little he could do as Di Maria opted to join new boss Louis van Gaal at Manchester United after the World Cup this summer. Having completed his move and made his debut against Burnley, Di Maria says he is looking forward to getting settled in and helping the Red Devils get back to winning ways.
"I am grateful to Manchester United for meeting Madrid's demands," he continued. "But I don't feel any extra pressure because I'm the most expensive player in the Premier League.
"The Premier League is more physical and about strength, whereas Spain was more about football. It's a very strong league, though. Van Gaal has told me to try to adapt as quickly as possible."
It was reported last summer that the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal last year, and while there was a few suggestions that Manchester United were in the running for him, it could have been very different were it not for Ronaldo's intervention.
The Portuguese ace played for Manchester United from 2003 until 2008, when he secured a then world record move to Real Madrid.
Di Maria was just one of six new arrivals at Old Trafford during the summer transfer window, joining the likes of Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao joining the Red Devils.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms