• Ferguson was close to huge Man Utd transfers, reveals Evra

    Sir Alex Ferguson claimed to be ‘99% sure’ that Cristiano Ronaldo would return to the club and Gareth Bale would join from Tottenham before heading into retirement in 2013, says Patrice Evra.

    Having previously backtracked on a decision to walk away from coaching, the legendary Scot rocked the sporting world when stepping down from an iconic post after 27 years.

    Evra, who had been taken to Old Trafford by Ferguson, was among those left stunned when the all-time great walked away from a role that had delivered 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.

    The Frenchman claims he had been told that no change in the dugout would be made, with United instead looking to put ambitious transfer agreements in place for two superstar forwards.

    Ronaldo, though, was to remain at Real Madrid, with Bale linking up with him at Santiago Bernabeu.

    Ferguson passed the managerial reins at United to David Moyes and a serious sense of what could have been set in for the Red Devils as they hit a rut that they have only recently shown signs of escaping.

    Evra told the club’s official podcast of Ferguson’s departure and the plans that were in the pipeline: ‘You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this is the one.

    ‘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% 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 on Ferguson’s announcement that he would be leaving a post that had allowed him to build United into a global brand: ‘After two weeks, we were in the dressing room waiting.

    ‘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.’

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