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Gary Lineker reveals unlikely role he played in Man Utd signing Cristiano Ronaldo

Gary Lineker reveals unlikely role he played in Man Utd signing Cristiano Ronaldo

Lineker was involved in the blockbuster transfer.

Gary Lineker has revealed the unlikely role he played in Manchester United's signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The footballing world went into meltdown when Ronaldo returned to United in 2021, 12 years after he left the club for Real Madrid.

The transfer garnered even more attention as United swooped in at the last minute to snatch Ronaldo from under the noses of neighbours Manchester City.

The Portuguese attacker looked set to sign for Pep Guardiola's side, but United legends including Sir Alex Ferguson, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville convinced him to swerve the Etihad Stadium in favour of Old Trafford.

Though he was often criticised during his 10-year spell at the club, United's former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward played a key role in bringing Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.

Not many people would have expected former England striker Gary Lineker to have been involved in the deal though.

In a recent episode of The Rest is Football podcast, the BBC Sport presenter revealed that Woodward - who is his neighbour - was round at his house at the exact moment Ronaldo's return to Manchester was confirmed.

"Ed is a very good friend, he's a lovely guy, genuinely a lovely guy. Cristiano Ronaldo was signed when Ed Woodward was in my back garden. That was amazing," Lineker said.

When asked by co-hosts Alan Shearer and Micah Richards if he knew that Woodward was negotiating Ronaldo's move, Lineker said: "Only when he arrived. He came over and we had a lunch planned. I was cooking for a few people, Ed being one of them.

Lineker discussed his role in Ronaldo's transfer. (Image
Rest Is Football/YouTube)

"He was on the phone when he arrived, and he was going 'I'm trying to secure the Cristiano Ronaldo deal'.

"At that point it was looking like he was going to Manchester City. And then he [Ed] got the confirmation call. I've got a picture of him sat in a chair at the back of the garden, doing the deal."

Ultimately, Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford didn't prove to be a successful one.

After scoring 24 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions in his first season, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner fell out with new United boss Erik ten Hag.

After publicly criticising the Dutch coach in an interview with Piers Morgan in November 2022, Ronaldo's contract was terminated and he joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr.

Featured Image Credit: Getty and The Rest is Football podcast

Topics: Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gary Lineker, Ed Woodward, Premier League