Ronaldo admits he was 'close' to joining Manchester City

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Cristiano Ronaldo was "close" to joining Manchester City in 2021 before ultimately deciding to return to Manchester United.

Ronaldo was leaving Juventus, with the Serie A club reportedly eager to get the Portugal international's wages off their books at the time, and had been surprisingly linked with a move to Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions.

Speaking to Piers Morgan on TalkTV, the 37-year-old detailed the U-turn that ended with him going back to Old Trafford 12 years after leaving for Real Madrid.

"Honestly, it was close," Ronaldo said when asked about the potential City move. "They spoke a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago I guess that they tried hard to have me.

"But as you know, my history with Manchester United, your heart, your feeling, the history that you did before made the difference, and of course as well [a conversation] with Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I was surprised in some ways, but it was a conscious decision because the heart was speaking loud in that moment."

Despite his loud heart, Ronaldo was unable to return United back to former glories, though in no part down to a lack of effort as he scored 18 league goals, but the team finished in sixth place with their lowest points total in Premier League history.

Ronaldo did also share a smile when asked about the impact he made on his initial return, with Morgan asking him about his replica shirts outselling those of Lionel Messi after his move to Paris Saint-Germain.

"Of course [I was happy about that]," he said. "As you know, I don't follow the records, the records follow me.

"It was good, another one in my book... it was a good moment [to rejoin the club], nobody expected it, because things changed around in 72 hours. They spoke, not only Manchester City but other clubs too, about your name, changing Juventus for another club, but United wasn't there [at the time].

"It surprised everybody, even me to be honest."

Ronaldo has been scathing of United in the interview, which had been previewed in recent days, including declaring he has "no respect" for manager Erik ten Hag and had "never heard of" his predecessor Ralf Rangnick, while claiming no progress had been made by the club since Alex Ferguson's departure in 2013.

The club released a statement saying they would not provide further comment until the interview was released in full.