It is believed that Sir Alex Ferguson played a massive hand in Manchester United's re-signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was initially close to joining Manchester City. Here is the role the legendary Scotsman reportedly played in this transfer.
Last week, every United supporter's worst nightmare almost became a reality as Premier League champions City went within touching distance of landing Ronaldo's signature from Juventus.
Following a few bizarre and whirlwind few hours on Friday afternoon, however, it was announced by the Red Devils that they had agreed a deal with the Bianconeri over the signing of the 36-year-old, who was Serie A's top goalscorer last season.
While many have claimed Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes used City as bait to force United to move for his client, reports suggest that the Portugal captain was, in fact, seriously considering joining forces with Pep Guardiola in the blue half of the city.
However, it was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who acted first. According to The Athletic, the Norwegian knew that City signing Ronaldo would have had hurt United's reputation and thus got on the phone with chief executive Ed Woodward to discuss whether a deal could be done.
Within minutes, Woodward was convinced by the idea before he began to hold talks with Juventus. Ferguson, however, might have played the biggest role of all.
It is claimed the legendary former manager called Ronaldo to persuade him to instead return to the club he spent six years at between 2003 and 2009, with the Scotsman said to have used his good relationship with Mendes to convince both parties.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand is also believed to have been in discussions with the ex-Real Madrid talisman. Speaking on his YouTube channel Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE, he said: "Cristiano and Sir Alex Ferguson have got a bond.
"Very few players get to have that in their career with a manager. Sir Alex played a massive part.
"There was no way Cristiano was coming to Man United without speaking to Sir Alex. Simple as that."
It is suggested that Patrice Evra and Bruno Fernandes also played important roles in the hours leading up to the 20-time English champions' official announcement.
United's highest-paid players following Ronaldo's arrival:
Why are Ronaldo and Ferguson so close?
Ronaldo first joined United in 2003 as a scrawny teenager from Sporting Lisbon, moving away from familiar surroundings to play for one of the biggest clubs in world football and in one of the toughest leagues around.
Two years later, the winger's father passed away at the age of 52 after a long and tragic battle with alcoholism, and it was from that moment that his relationship with Ferguson grew stronger.
Ronaldo has often referred to his ex-boss as a "father figure", saying in 2015 that: "When my dad was sick in London and was in hospital – very bad, in a coma – I had a conversation with Ferguson. I said, 'Boss, I don't feel good.'
"We are in a key moment in the league and the Champions League, but I say, 'Boss, I don't feel good. I want to see my dad.'
"(He said) 'Cristiano, you want to go one day, two days, one week, you can go. I'm going to miss you here because you know you are important, but your dad (comes) first.'
"When he told me that, I thought, 'This guy's unbelievable'. He was a football father for me."