Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen have revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson was very keen to sign Karim Benzema back in 2009, with Owen confirming that the only reason he moved to Old Trafford was because Benzema moved to Real Madrid.
The Frenchman has gone on to become a Real Madrid legend, joining from Lyon in 2009 and winning three La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and scoring over 270 goals in all competitions.
However, it could have been very different if Ferguson had got his way, as the legendary United boss wanted Benzema after facing his Lyon side in the Champions League in 2008.
Benzema scored in the first leg of the last 16 tie and convinced the Scot that he was the man for him, with Ferguson trying to repay the compliment and convince the Frenchman to come to Manchester.
‘That was the first time I played against him and Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport of the February 2008 clash in France.
‘I remember after that game, Sir Alex Ferguson was talking to him in the tunnel after the game and some of their officials came and ushered him away.
‘Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him. I played that game and straight away realised his movement, he’s a technician, a beautiful footballer.’
Benzema eventually signed for Real Madrid for around £30m in 2009, which saw Ferguson change his focus from the Frenchman to an ageing Owen on a free transfer.
‘I only went to United because he [Benzema] chose Madrid instead,’ Owen told BT Sport.
‘I got a call off Sir Alex Ferguson and he was dead honest, he said: “We’re trying to sign Benzema, if we don’t get him, you can come as second choice.”‘
Owen moved to Old Trafford in July 2009 and went on to score 17 goals for the club, winning a Premier League title in the process.
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