“There are two players with Spanish passports.”
1NEWS – It is no longer a secret that Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United for the second time. The last time he left was when he moved to Real Madrid for £80 million in the summer of 2009.
Man United did experience a disastrous transfer window, and that has been warned by Erik ten Hag. Man United missed several key targets in the summer when Ronaldo left, signing Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen and Gabriel Obertan for a combined £20 million in exchange.
We’ve looked at the five strikers the Red Devils reportedly tried to bring in in 2009 to replace Ronaldo. How have they been since then?
1. Karim Benzema
Benzema first showed Man United what he was capable of in February 2008, scoring against them for Lyon in a Champions League last-16 tie.
Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to bring him to Old Trafford 15 months later, but faced competition from the voracious Real Madrid.
While Man United offered Lyon more money, the striker ultimately decided to join Ronaldo and complete a £35m move to Madrid. This is a decision that goes well enough to be fair.
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The Red Devils then opted for a slightly different option, signing 29-year-old Michael Owen on a free transfer.
“I came to Man United only because he (Benzema) chose Real Madrid over Man United,” Owen told BT Sport in 2021. “The first time I got a call from Sir Alex Ferguson, he said, ‘We want to sign Benzema, if we didn’t get it… (we got you).’”
2. Franck Ribery
Considered a direct successor to Ronaldo, Ribery reportedly wanted to leave Bayern Munich in 2009 after just two years with the Bundesliga side.
According to The Guardian, Man United made a £62.5 million bid for the French winger, who has also been linked with Chelsea, Barcelona and you guessed it – Real Madrid.
“He was fantastic,” Ferguson told The Sun in 2009. “Always moving and his energy is incredible. He’s always advancing, but also defending a lot. He will have no problem playing in England.”
Bayern turned down the offer and convinced Ribery to stay at the Allianz Arena, where he developed a brilliant partnership with Arjen Robben and became one of the best players in the world.
The player ended his 12-year stay at Bayern in 2019 and is somehow still staying at Salernitana at the age of 39.
Franck Ribery’s Bayern Munich contract runs out this summer.
And he has provided a huge hint on his future: https://t.co/ieZWI2ydzZpic.twitter.com/iSnfNbYDz7
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 13, 2018
3. Samuel Eto’o
After scoring Barcelona’s first goal against Man United in the 2009 Champions League final, Eto’o was linked with a move to Old Trafford.
The striker turned down the chance to join Manchester City and is reportedly hoping to complete a £18 million/Rp 325 billion transfer to Man United.
However, he became a pawn in a swap for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, joining Inter Milan before winning a second successive treble in 2009/2010.
Eto’o finally arrived in the Premier League with Chelsea in 2013 and famously scored a hat-trick against David Moyes’ Man United in a 3-1 win for the Blues.
After playing for Everton, Sampdoria, Antalyaspor, Konyaspor and Qatar SC, he decided to hang up his boots in September 2019.
4. David Villa
After starring in Spain and Valencia, Villa established himself as one of the most sought-after players in world football in the summer of 2009.
According to AS, Manchester United are ready to offer 47 million euros for El Guaje, but he made it clear he doesn’t want to leave his native Spain.
The forward joined Barcelona in 2010 and went on to score 48 goals for the club, including a stunning strike against Man United in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley.
After struggling with injury, Villa left Camp Nou in 2013 and spent a season at Atletico Madrid, where he claimed a third La Liga title.
The 39-year-old ended his playing career in America, Australia and Japan before announcing his retirement in November 2019.
5. David Silva
The second former Valencia player to make this list, Silva was heavily linked with Manchester United, but a move to Old Trafford failed to materialize.
“It is true that there is an offer from a big English club,” Silva said in September 2009. “If it was just a question of money, then I would accept it.”
The midfielder spent another year at the Mestalla before landing in the blues of Manchester, completing a £25m move to Man City.
He went on to become a threat at the Man United side, helping Man City win four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and five League Cups during his 10 years at the Etihad.
The 35-year-old returned to Spain with Real Sociedad in 2020 and lifted the Copa del Rey in his debut season.
(mochamad rahmatul haq/yul)