Jose Mourinho turned down the biggest signing in Manchester United history, which could have saved his job.

Jose Mourinho made it clear to Manchester United’s hierarchy that he didn’t want Cristiano Ronaldo at the club – despite being offered the chance to sign him.

Ronaldo returned to United in 2021 before controversially departing in November. There was a chance to bring him back to Old Trafford even earlier than that, while he was playing for Real Madrid in 2018.

Mourinho and Ronaldo previously worked together for three years in the Spanish capital and Jim White of talkSPORT has claimed former vice chairman Ed Woodward wanted to broker a deal.

White explained: “Over the years there have been many discussions over Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United.

“It might have happened when he finished at Real Madrid when he was still in his pomp. But it wasn’t possible because Jose Mourinho made it clear he at that time had other priorities.”

That summer instead saw Ronaldo move to Juventus, where he stayed for three years before moving back to England.

Mourinho, meanwhile, had just taken United to second in the Premier League table and was desperate for the club to sign a central defender.

Among the names the ‘Special One’ wanted were Toby Alderweireld, Diego Godin, and Jerome Boateng. It’s potentially the reason Mourinho opted against a Ronaldo move.
Mourinho left United later that year. (Image Credit: Alamy)

Instead, United signed midfielder Fred and right-back Diogo Dalot and a poor start to the season saw Mourinho sacked that December.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions for United last season but the club finished sixth in the Premier League with their lowest-ever points tally.

Erik ten Hag was named the new manager in the summer and he made it his mission to get the Red Devils back on track.
He clashed with Ronaldo in regard to his place in the team, with tensions reaching their boiling point when Ronaldo refused to come off the bench in a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in October.

During the World Cup break, Ronaldo gave an explosive interview to close friend Piers Morgan in which he slammed Ten Hag and the United hierarchy.

They were left with no choice but to terminate Ronaldo’s contract via mutual consent. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has since signed for Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

He scored twice for Riyadh XI in a 5-4 friendly defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday, a game which will likely be his last against longtime foe Lionel Messi.


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