Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho insists a sensational summer move for Cristiano Ronaldo was “never on the table”.
Reports claimed the Old Trafford manager told United NOT to re-sign Ronaldo, allowing Juventus to snap him up from Real Madrid for £99million.
Mourinho will come up against the Juve striker – who he managed for three seasons at Real – in the Champions League this season.
Speaking after yesterday’s 2-0 win at Burnley, he said: “Juventus is one of the teams in Europe that invested to win the Champions League because they don’t need to invest to win the Scudetto. They win the Scudetto for six or seven years.
“The objective is clearly to win the Champions League, which they were close twice when they reached the final, so they are a top team in Europe that made one of the biggest spending – I think after Liverpool it must be them.
“Fantastic players – Cristiano, (Emre) Can and (Leonardo) Bonucci. Absolutely top. But they are going to have two very difficult matches against us.
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“Cristiano was never on my table to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Cristiano to come to us. It was never on the table.”
Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, two League Cups, the FA Cup, Champions League and Ballon d’Or in six years at United.
Mourinho – who famously fell out with his countryman at Real – is expecting the Old Trafford crowd to raise the roof for their old hero.
He said: “I think he [Ronaldo] likes to come.
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“My feeling when we played with Real Madrid here was that he was happy to come back and was happy to play at Old Trafford, but he was also happy to score and to win.
“He comes with a Juventus shirt, he went to Juventus to win the Champions League, he comes to Old Trafford to score goals and to win the match.
“But Old Trafford likes him and Old Trafford will always react in a positive way to him, which is a great thing.”