Manchester City had a “considerable chance” of signing Cristiano Ronaldo before he re-joined Manchester United, according to Fernandinho.
Premier League champions City were strongly linked with Ronaldo last month after it emerged he had asked to leave Juventus, where he had spent the previous three seasons.
However, United pulled of a stunning coup by agreeing a deal worth up to £19.67million (€23m) for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, 12 years after he had departed for Real Madrid.
Ronaldo has made a fine start to his second spell at United with three goals in two games, but Fernandinho has suggested the Portugal captain could well have been a City player.
Asked how close his side came to signing the superstar forward, Fernandinho told ESPN Brasil: “I think they had a good, considerable chance.
“I think his agent [Jorge Mendes] was here at the club renewing the contracts of Ederson, Ruben Dias, seeing the situation of Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo.
“Obviously, if you’re there at the table, you can talk about everything and every possible player.”
Shortly after putting pen to paper on an initial two-year deal with United, Ronaldo revealed the part former boss Alex Ferguson had on his decision to opt for a return to Old Trafford.
And given the media attention surrounding the prospect of Ronaldo agreeing to join City, Fernandinho believes other factors played a part in the 36-year-old’s decision.
“I think that a lot of expectations were also raised with the possibility of him coming here,” the Brazilian said. “No doubt this ends up affecting not only the fans, but also the people inside the club.
“But in the end, things didn’t work out, he didn’t close the deal, and ended up going to the red side of town. Life goes on.”
After scoring twice on his second Old Trafford debut in last weekend’s 4-1 win against Newcastle United, Ronaldo was again on target in the Red Devils’ surprise 2-1 Champions League loss to Young Boys on Tuesday.
Ronaldo’s 13th-minute opener made Young Boys the 36th different side he has scored against in the Champions League, a record the Portuguese now shares with Lionel Messi.
He also equalled another record in Switzerland on what was his 177th Champions League appearance, matching the number of games player by legendary Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.