Bruno Fernandes made one of three decisive phone calls to Cristiano Ronaldo to ensure the wheels were in motion for his sensational return to Manchester United.
The Red Devils confirmed they had agreed a deal in principle to re-sign the club icon last Friday following speedy negotiations brokered by Jorge Mendes.
Ronaldo had looked destined to join bitter rivals City before a dramatic swing of events change the outcome of proceedings.
CR7 was adamant he was never signing for City but talks were understood to be progressing before United arrived at the table.
Yet on the Thursday evening, there was still no contact from United or any indication they would explore a deal.
That’s when things changed according to Fabrizio Romano, who has explained the details of how the transfer came about.
That night, Mendes reportedly picked up the phone and called United to propose a deal.
Talk Ronaldo could join City sparked United into life and all of a sudden, this was an opportunity the Glazers and the board weren’t prepared to let pass them by.
That’s when Sir Alex Ferguson stepped in. He called Ronaldo to make it clear he should return to Old Trafford and the forward would later admit the Scotsman’s influence proved decisive.
Ferguson also spoke to the United board and made it clear Ronaldo should be re-signed at all costs. They were now prepared to go all-in on the deal.
Finally, in the early hours of Friday morning, Fernandes spoke to his international team-mate and began to discuss the prospect of linking up at club level.
Ronaldo knows the club like the back of his hand but Fernandes made it clear United were on the cusp of winning trophies. The pair began to dream of playing together for United and that dream was about to become a reality.
By late morning, the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra had private confirmation Ronaldo was signing for United as the former centre-back posted smugly on social media.
United later confirmed the stunning capture of CR7 before he flew to Lisbon to undergo a medical and sign his contract over the weekend before joining up with his international team-mates.
Now the move is official, Ronaldo has made it clear that Sir Alex was the main reason he has returned to the club, even though he is no longer in the dug-out.
“As everybody knows, since I signed for Manchester [United] at 18, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key,” Ronaldo told United.
“I remember when we played against Manchester when I was at Sporting Lisbon.
“For me, Sir Alex Ferguson is like a father in football for me. He helped me a lot, he taught me many things, and in my opinion, of course, he had a big role because the relationship that we had, we keep in touch all the time, and he’s an unbelievable person.
“I really like him a lot and he was the main key for me to be in the position that I am, that I signed for Manchester United.”