Juventus defender Patrice Evra has revealed that former Manchester United Alex Ferguson was “99 per cent” sure of re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo and staying on as manager before shockingly announcing his retirement.
Ferguson who won 13 Premier League title during his reign at Old Trafford assured the French defender he would remain in charge at Old Trafford and was confident of bringing Portuguese superstar Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after selling him for £80m to Real Madrid in 2009.
However, none of those promises came to pass, though, with Ferguson announcing his retirement on May 8 2013.
“I remember we talked maybe two weeks before and he said, ‘Patrice, I will be here another five years’,” he said.
“I said, ‘Yes boss. Let’s do it.’ I was so convinced. He was looking younger and younger, amazing. He even told me ’99 per cent, Cristiano Ronaldo will come’. I was like, ‘wow, we are ready to bounce back and to even win the Champions League again.
“After that everyone knows what happened. You know when you are lost and you feel like the world is crumbling? It was a big trauma, I felt lost.”
Evra also used the opportunity to reveal his fears for English football as he feels that Italian football is more tactical.
“I’m a little bit worried about English football,” he said.
“Why? In Europe, being fast, being strong, playing only with your quality, you are going to struggle against teams that prepare. That is where England has to work, it is about tactics. But it is not easy, because the players won’t accept it.
“When Juventus played Manchester City … I was not worried,” he added, referring to a clash the Italian side won 2-1 at the Eithad Stadium in September.
The 34-year-old also claimed he was surprised to discover how strategic the approach to winning is in Italy, something he feels could have been of benefit to United even as they collected an extraordinary haul of silverware under former manager Alex Ferguson.
“I learnt a lot about a way to be more professional – even if I was already a massive professional in Manchester,” he said.
“I was sometimes thinking, ‘You win a lot of trophies for Manchester but you could have done much more if you had known the Italian way to play.’
“The Premier League is like two boxers fighting. The one who is least strong gets tired, he goes down. Here it is like a chess game and you have to understand every move before you play with your quality, your strength, your skill. That’s the difference.”
Evra won the double with the Old Lady last season and only missed out on a treble as Juve were defeated in the Champions League final by Barcelona.