Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon claims Cristiano Ronaldo rejected a move to Barcelona in order to join their bitter rivals.
Ronaldo finally completed his much talked about move to Madrid last summer for a world record fee of £80 million.
Madrid had long been pursuing the Portugal international and the relationship between the two clubs had rapidly disintegrated with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson famously claiming he would not sell the Primera Division outfit "a virus''.
Calderon, who resigned as president at the beginning of last year, admitted Madrid would have been pipped to the post for Ronaldo's signature had the FIFA world player of the year not had such a strong desire to move to the Bernabeu.
The former Madrid chief also revealed that both the club and player accepted a clause which would have ensured a €30 million fine had either of them pulled out of the deal. "Cristiano reached an agreement on December 8 2008 with Manchester United to come to Real Madrid,'' Calderon told Eurosport.
"There was no negotiation about this, the signing was already done. I did my bit. The player, in a gesture of good faith and clear desire to come to Madrid, agreed to a clause which could have inflicted a financial penalty of €30 million.
"But then Barcelona and Inter Milan tried to sign him too. It was a difficult situation because for United that would have solved the problem. It's very well known that Alex Ferguson is not a friend of Real Madrid, does not see Madrid in good light because they are sporting rivals, in trophies and European competition.
"If he had gone to Barcelona it would have been very good because it would have allowed them to resolve that problem and would have taken away a great player from Real Madrid. But you have to say that the player remained firm and decisive in not going to another club that wasn't Real Madrid. He rejected them and that is certain.''