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“Beyond his value” – Sir Alex Ferguson reveals Man United’s failed attempt to sign Cristiano Ronaldo replacement in 2009



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Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to sign Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyonnais in 2009 after Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo spent one more year at Old Trafford despite wanting to make the move to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium after Champions League victory with United.

The following summer he completed an £80 million transfer to the La Liga club and Sir Alex Ferguson needed a replacement in the attacking side of the team.

Wayne Rooney and Dimatar Berbatov were the main options in the frontline but the club had recently lost both Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.

Benzema, who was just 21 years of age at the time, appeared like a perfect addition to the side. He scored against The Reds in the Champions League round-of-16 the prior campaign.

However, Sir Alex and United pulled out of the deal once Lyon demanded over £40 million for his signature and Real Madrid would end up swiping the Frenchman to play alongside Ronaldo to become one of football’s most successful partnerships.

We tried to spend [the Cristiano Ronaldo money] on Karim Benzema,” admitted Ferguson. “At 21, I felt that there would be an improvement there. He is tough, good physique, and a good goal-scoring record, so it was worth going a wee bit extra for him because of his age.

“But when it went to £42 million, it was beyond his value. We went to £35 million and I think that was fair.”

Benzema played 648 games for Real Madrid before leaving in the most recent summer transfer window to Al-Ittihad. He scored 354 goals for the Spanish side and assisted 165 times.

Meanwhile, United would sign Michael Owen instead in which become the first name on a long list of players to crumble at Old Trafford whilst wearing the no.7 shirt after Ronaldo.

The former Liverpool striker was told clearly by the Scottish manager at United that he was not the first-choice option that summer.

Owen told BT Sport: “The first time I got a call off Sir Alex, he was dead honest. He said, ‘We’re trying to sign Benzema. If we don’t get him, you’re second choice’.”