Alex Ferguson is checking the small print of Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80million transfer to Real Madrid to see if there is any way of stopping him playing against Manchester United.
The Champions League draw has pitted Ronaldo against his former club. They promise to be two memorable occasions, with Ronaldo guaranteed a warm reception at Old Trafford on March 5 given his exploits in six seasons with the Red Devils.
Ferguson knows stopping the 27-year-old represents a formidable challenge, which is why his first thought is self-preservation. “Our contract with Real is that he can’t play against us,” laughed the Scot. “It would be a disgrace if he played against us. It would be no loyalty.”
Ferguson knows, injury permitting, Ronaldo will line up against United for the first time since he was a teenager at Sporting Lisbon in 2003. On that night he terrorised the Red Devils so badly Ferguson’s own players urged the United boss to snap the Portugal whiz-kid up, which he promptly did, for £12.24million. Ronaldo meanwhile said: “I won’t celebrate if I score against United.”