Rio Ferdinand has admitted he did all he could to convince Cristiano Ronaldo to return to Manchester United last summer.
It was speculated that Ronaldo could quit Real Madrid last summer and return to United, with Ferdinand confirming there was an attempt to re-sign the Portugal forward.
Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid in 2009 and Ferdinand believes that if he wanted to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, he would only move to Old Trafford.
“He was one of the most dialled people on my phone,” Ferdinand told the Daily Mirror.
“But I think the opportunity has gone now. If we could have done it, I think it would have been last summer. He’s signed a new deal at Real now.
“But if he was going to leave Real Madrid, I think Manchester United would have been the place he would have come to. That’s my personal view, but no-one will ever know now.”
Ferdinand added that he hopes Ronaldo wins the Ballon d’Or this year, claiming that his old teammate deserves the award.
“We had a debate about it in training, and I think he has been the best in the calendar year, definitely, he’s the best,” he said. “Look at his goals! He’s scored more goals than some clubs have in the calendar year.
“He is a great model to any young player to look up to. He got to being World Player of the Year back in 2008 and he wasn’t satisfied.
“ Ronaldo has gone on again to another level and he should have won it a couple of seasons ago when Real Madrid won La Liga.
“He wants to become the best player in the world again. He’s still got people doubting him – maybe there’s a jealousy element to it – and he wants to prove them people wrong. That’s how you become the best.”