Cristiano Ronaldo once phoned two Manchester United transfer targets and convinced them to join the club ahead of bitter rivals Arsenal.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was deployed by Sir Alex Ferguson to secure the signings of twins Rafael and Fabio da Silva.
Rafael told the UTD Podcast that he received a call from ‘CR7’ as a teenager and his influence helped them make their decision.
“He called my phone, and I’ll never forget that,” the Botafogo defender beamed.
“My phone had all the zeros [on the screen, to indicate an international call] and I was saying ‘Who is this? I’ve never received a call like this.’ I answered, and I knew him because I’d trained with him before.
“He just said: ‘Ah, [Portuguese greeting]!’ I ran to my bus saying: ‘It’s Ronaldo, it’s Ronaldo! He’s calling us to speak!’
“He just said: ‘It’s raining here, it’s raining here in Manchester, like you know.’ He said: ‘I call to say to you guys: sign for Manchester United. I know you are going to like it,’ et cetera.
“I could not believe [it]. It was amazing.”
Fabio shared a similar story in 2020 and explained Ronaldo helped them both with the language barrier and confidence issues while playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs.
Rafael would become United’s starting right-back following Gary Neville’s retirement and won three Premier League titles during his time at the club.
He would leave for Lyon in 2015 after falling out of favour under Louis van Gaal.
Meanwhile, Fabio only received one Premier League medal in 2010-2011 and spent time on loan at Queen’s Park Rangers.
He was sold to Cardiff City in 2014 and now plays for Nantes in Ligue 1.
Arsenal were United’s big rivals in the 2000s and Ferguson didn’t want to lose out on two young stars to Arsene Wenger.
The Red Devils moved quickly to snap the brothers up from Fluminese and they both went down as successful transfers.
Ronaldo is currently in his second stint with United and has 14 goals in 24 appearances so far.