Daily Mirror



SIR ALEX FERGUSON’S fierce pride did not allow him to lose Wayne Rooney to Manchester City during the striker’s infamous contract stand-off.

The striker threatened to leave Manchester United in 2010 after publicly criticisin­g the club’s lack of ambition and declaring his intention to run his contract down.

City wanted to lure Rooney across the City to join their revolution under Sheikh Mansour, but Ferguson pulled off a managerial masterstro­ke by convincing his main man to agree a new contract. Rooney (left with Fergie after signing the deal) ended up staying for a further seven years at Old Trafford, eventually overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton to become the club’s record scorer with 253 goals. Reflecting on the seismic contract stand-off, Ferguson’s assistant at the time, Rene Meulenstee­n, said the Reds manager was stung that it was United’s neighbours trying to convince Rooney to jump ship. “I think the thing that hurt Sir Alex more than anything was the fact that Manchester City were the club linked with him,” said Meulenstee­n.

“I’m not saying that if Barcelona or AC Milan had come in, the manager would have let him go, but he might have understood the need for a different challenge.

“But City were the team linked. “Wayne was 25 – still ready to reach the peak of his career and with all of these trophies already won.

“Sir Alex would not have wanted to lose a battle of prestige with Manchester City and he had to do everything to keep Wayne.” Four days after Ferguson confirmed Rooney intended to leave, the forward signed a new five-year contract, making him the club’s highest-paid player.

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