What would be the history of world football if the top two superstars Ronaldo and Messi wore the same shirt? The scenario of excitement was ruined with a single phone call.
In his book “Cristiano Ronaldo. The Biography”, journalist Guillem Balague revealed in detail how Cristiano Ronaldo almost became a Barcelona player in the summer of 2009. The Camp Nou team then believed that the striker scored a goal. Portugal can play alongside Lionel Messi.
Trouble with Real
Many fans knew about the tacit agreement between Real and Ronaldo in 2008. The president of “White Vulture” then, Ramon Calderon wanted to buy CR7 in the summer of 2008 but was rejected by Manchester United.
In April 2007, Ronaldo signed a new 5-year contract with United, thereby keeping him until the summer of 2012. However, a year later this striker intends to move to Real Madrid. Sir Alex Ferguson must fly from Manchester to Lisbon to persuade Ronaldo to accept to stay at Old Trafford for another season.
At the same time, Calderon decided to approach the player’s agent Jorge Mendes, and the parties created a contract. It is Real will have to pay Ronaldo 30 million euros in cash if they do not comply with the contract, and Ronaldo will also be fined the same amount if he changes his mind not to move to the Bernabeu.
In January 2009, Calderon unexpectedly resigned from his position as president of the Royal Spanish Club, after allegations of financial fraud. The deal to buy Ronaldo is at risk of collapse after an urgent meeting of Real management later.
Eduardo thought that Real should spend 94 million euros at the time, investing in the local players. The chairman believes that if Real recruits Ronaldo in the next few months, the club’s finances could be at risk.
Vicente Boluda, the interim president of Real then decided to halt all negotiations with Ronaldo and his agent. Despite only expected to take over Real in five months, Boluda did not want to be known as squandering money for a Portuguese player and leaving the club in debt.
The Valencia lawyer is willing to pay a € 30 million fine in the deal with Mendes to abandon the deal.
A secret meeting was held between Mendes and Boluda for the matter of Messi and Ronaldo, with all of his prestige and well-being, the Portuguese super agreed to break the deal without Real paying the fine. Real’s side is very surprised at that. 30 million euros was not a small amount at the time.
Why did Mendes easily agree before the Real deal broke the deal? Not only because Mendes is an elegant-looking businessman and always tries to please the parties, but also because he has received other attractive offers for Ronaldo, from the top two clubs in the world.
The offer from the Camp Nou
Mendes received two offers to buy Ronaldo, one from Manchester City for 150 million euros and one from Barcelona, for 105 million euros. Both clubs are willing to pay more than Real.
Sir Alex Ferguson had known the implicit deal between Real and Ronaldo before, so he disliked the Spanish Royal Club. In the summer of 2008, he even stated bluntly: “Will not sell to Real even a virus”.
When knowing Barca made a proposal to Ronaldo, the Scottish strategist expressed his desire to let his hard-working student come to the Camp Nou. “Ronaldo and Messi were able to play together,” said former Barca chief executive Ariedo Braida.
At that time Pep Guardiola had just won the Barca first team for a season, and he fully supported the president’s idea of recruiting Ronaldo. Joan Laporta revealed Barca had almost bought Ronaldo in 2003 when making a proposal of just MU 2 million USD.
On a Thursday in February 2009, Laporta had lunch with Mendes. The Catalan attorney was then leading the Barca presidential election with 33.8% of the vote, surpassing Agusti Benedito (23.9%) and Josep Maria Bartomeu (17.9%). Together with his assistant, Sandro Rosell, Laporta believed that the Ronaldo deal would bring him victory in the election.
With Man City just an emerging rich man at the time, not to mention MU’s great rival, this club was hardly noticed by Ronaldo. If Real refused the deal, Barca would be the perfect destination.
Concerns from Barca led Jose Angel Sanchez, the assistant to Florentino Perez and later became the CEO of Real. “If Barca buys Ronaldo, there will be no trophies in the next 10 decades,” Sanchez said.
Other Real executives also agreed with Sanchez, considering the remarkable growth of Messi and Pep Guardiola during that period.
Sanchez convinced Boluda not to break the deal. However, the interim president of Real was quite determined. Things only changed after Perez’s direct call to Boluda.
Perez assures that when he becomes president (which is almost certain from the current situation), Boluda will not be prosecuted for the club’s economic situation. Perez asked Boluda to continue to carry out the agreement with Mendes.
On June 1, 2009, after becoming the only candidate accepted to spend more than 57 million euros in guarantee money, Perez officially became president of Real Madrid. Ten days later, the Spanish Royal Club announced the successful acquisition of Ronaldo for € 94 million (£ 80 million), in front of more than 80,000 Real fans.
The vision and determination of Real leaders, especially President Perez and CEO Sanchez, prevented the prospect of Messi and Ronaldo playing in the same shirt. And Barca, they can only regret because Perez’s phone call was effective.
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