Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has said that Manchester United outbid Real Madrid for Karim Benzema back in 2009, but the player had his heart set on a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Frenchman departed France for Madrid in an initial
“He told me ‘My dream is to play for Real Madrid’,” Aulas told beIN Sports. “And so he went to Real Madrid for an inferior fee to what we had from Manchester United.”
Benzema ended up moving to Madrid at the same time as Cristiano Ronaldo, and the duo would spend the next nine seasons terrorising opposition defenders together, winning two La Liga titles and the Champions League four times.
After a slow first season in Spain, the striker became a key player under José Mourinho, and has been one of the first names on the Madrid team sheet to this day.
While United failed to land Benzema that summer, they did manage to replace Ronaldo with Michael Owen, Gabriel Obertan and Antonio Valencia, who would score a combined 43 goals for the Red Devils.
After playing more of a supporting role alongside Ronaldo in recent seasons, Benzema is now thriving as the main man for Madrid. Since the start of the 2018/19 season, he’s bagged 44 goals in 71 games in all competitions, including 14 in 18 this campaign.
United, meanwhile, are yet to see a striker of their own have a 20-goal season in the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 – a damning indictment of just how far they’ve fallen at the back end of this decade.