Rio Ferdinand: Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Karim Benzema so bad 'Lyon officials had to PULL him away'


Sir Alex Ferguson was so desperate to sign Karim Benzema ‘Lyon officials had to PULL him away in the tunnel’, reveals Rio Ferdinand – before French star later snubbed Manchester United for Real Madrid 

  • Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s main man for just under 12 seasons 
  • Rio Ferdinand claimed Sir Alex Ferguson pursued the Frenchman back in 2008 
  • Benzema first caught Ferguson’s eye by scoring against Man United that year 
  • Ferguson allegedly had to be pulled away by Lyon officials after the match
  • Benzema joined Real Madrid in 2009 – and United signed Michael Owen instead

Rio Ferdinand claims Sir Alex Ferguson was desperate to sign Karim Benzema for Manchester United before he joined Real Madrid.

The French striker has been a regular option for the LaLiga giants since moving from Lyon in 2009, scoring 227 goals in 12 seasons and guiding Los Blancos to 18 major trophies. 

Benzema first caught Ferguson’s eye when he scored for Lyon in the 2007-08 Champions League last-16 tie against United, with Ferdinand claiming the Scot had to be dragged away from the striker by the French club’s officials. 

Rio Ferdinand claimed Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Karim Benzema before he joined Real Madrid

Rio Ferdinand claimed Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Karim Benzema before he joined Real Madrid

Benzema first caught the ex-Manchester United boss' eyes by scoring against the club in 2008

Benzema first caught the ex-Manchester United boss’ eyes by scoring against the club in 2008

Speaking about facing Benzema for United back in 2008, Ferdinand told BT Sport: ‘The first time I played against him, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him. 

‘He was speaking to him in the tunnel after the game and Lyon officials had to pull him away. His movement that day was brilliant.’

Benzema ended up moving to Madrid over a year later in a £30million move, thereby snubbing a move to Ferguson’s side who had just won the Premier League title and reached the Champions League final. 

Ferdinand claimed Ferguson wanted had to be dragged away from Benzema after the match

Ferdinand claimed Ferguson wanted had to be dragged away from Benzema after the match

Michael Owen, who was United’s only striker signing in the summer of 2009, revealed that Benzema rejecting the Red Devils was the only reason he made the switch to Old Trafford on a free transfer from Newcastle.

The former United striker claimed: ‘I only came to United because he chose Real Madrid instead of United. The first time I got a call from Sir Alex Ferguson, he said “We want to sign Benzema, if we don’t get him… (we’re getting you.)’

The 34-year-old is having another top season at the Spanish giants, with 28 goals in all competitions this season going into Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final second-leg with Chelsea.  

Ferguson was left disappointed come the summer of 2009 when Benzema moved to Spain

Ferguson was left disappointed come the summer of 2009 when Benzema moved to Spain

United then snapped up Michael Owen on a free transfer that summer after Benzema's snub

United then snapped up Michael Owen on a free transfer that summer after Benzema’s snub

Michael Owen admitted that Benzema is currently benefiting from Cristiano Ronaldo no longer being part of the Real Madrid squad. 

The Portuguese forward joined Juventus in a £100million move in the summer of 2018 and Benzema has 85 goals in 142 matches since then. 

Owen claimed: ‘He’s in great form. Who isn’t going to be in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow when he’s at your club? 

‘He has a variety of finishes with either foot. He’s brilliant in the air, he places or goes for power. He can link up as well. 

Michael Owen and Joe Cole were full of praise for Benzema, who has 227 goals for Madrid

Michael Owen and Joe Cole were full of praise for Benzema, who has 227 goals for Madrid

‘He’s got power when he needs it, he’s brilliant in the air and when he sees an opportunity, he knows his team-mate alongside him but goes I’m the centre-forward – I’m the selfish one.’

Joe Cole, meanwhile, claims Benzema has been the hottest striker in the world in recent years, apart from his former Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo.

The former Chelsea midfielder added: ‘I played against him many times and in the last 10, 15 years – apart from Ronaldo – he’s been the most dangerous striker.’

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