Rio Ferdinand: Karim Benzema was one of Alex Ferguson's 'biggest transfer regrets' 2 months ago

Rio Ferdinand: Karim Benzema was one of Alex Ferguson's 'biggest transfer regrets'

'Sir Alex will believe that is one of his biggest regrets not getting him to sign for the club'

Rio Ferdinand has said that Alex Ferguson considers not signing Karim Benzema to be one of his 'biggest regrets' from his time as manager of Manchester United.

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Ferguson wanted to sign Benzema from Lyon in 2009. The French striker, however, opted instead to join Real Madrid and has become a club legend for Los Blancos.

Benzema Man United

Ferdinand: One of Ferguson's biggest Man United transfer regrets is Benzema

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"The first time I played against him was 2008," Ferdinand said about Benzema on BT Sport. The striker scored for Lyon against United in the Champions League in 2008 and put himself on the club's radar.

"That was the first time I had seen him up close and personal. If you see the goal he scored against us, look how many players are around him, but all he needed was one touch, it was all one motion.

"I remember coming off the pitch and Sir Alex Ferguson said, 'don't worry, I'm trying to get him'. But with his African connections, and how influential Real Madrid were, he chose them.

"I think, looking back, Sir Alex will believe that is one of his biggest regrets not getting him to sign for the club."

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Alex Ferguson on Benzema

Ferguson was understandably keen to bring the striker, who was considered one of the most talented players of his generation, to Old Trafford.

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"Sir Alex was speaking to him in the tunnel after the game and I remember some of their officials came and ushered him away," Ferdinand said last year.

"Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him. I played that game and, straight away, saw his movement. Beautiful footballer."

Benzema Man United

After Man United sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m in 2009, the club were in the market for a new forward. Benzema, then 21, was top of Ferguson's list.

However, he joined Real Madrid for €35m. Like Ronaldo, he saw his future in Madrid instead of Manchester.

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Man United instead signed free-agent Michael Owen that summer, but the ex-England striker knew he that he wasn't the club's first choice.

"The first time I got a call off Sir Alex, he was dead honest," Owen told BT Sport last year. "He said, 'We’re trying to sign Benzema. If we don’t get him, you’re second choice'."

Benzema at Real Madrid

Benzema has won three Spanish league titles, the Copa del Rey twice, the Champions League four times and four Club World Cup crowns at Real Madrid. The 34-year-old has also netted 317 goals in 597 games for the club.

Benzema is currently enjoying the best campaign of his career so far and has scored 38 goals in 38 games for Madrid this season.

The former Lyon striker has helped Carlo Ancelotti's side reach the semi-finals of the Champions League and the summit of La Liga.

Benzema has also taken on the responsibility of being the team's talisman since Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.

In eight seasons as Ronaldo's teammate, Benzema only scored 30 goals or more in one season. He has scored more than 30 goals in three of the last four seasons.

In 185 games for Real Madrid since 2018, Benzema has scored 125 goals, after scoring 192 goals for Los Blancos in 405 games when Ronaldo was at the club.

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