‘I only came to Manchester United because he chose Real Madrid’: Michael Owen admits Karim Benzema rejecting Sir Alex Ferguson was the reason behind his Old Trafford switch after playing for bitter rivals Liverpool
- Michael Owen revealed Karim Benzema rejecting Manchester United helped him
- The Englishman joined United after they were unable to sign Benzema from Lyon
- Sir Alex Ferguson was desperate to try and bring Frenchman to Old Trafford
- Owen praised striker for his all-round game after superb season for Real Madrid
Michael Owen revealed Manchester United only signed him because Sir Alex Ferguson was unable to convince Karim Benzema to join the club.
The Englishman arrived at Old Trafford in 2009 and spent three years in Manchester, with his first home goal coming in the form of a 96th-minute winner to give his side a 4-3 win over rivals Manchester City.
But speaking ahead of the second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid, Owen admitted he would never have joined United has Benzema decided to move to England rather than Spain when he left Lyon.
Michael Owen says he only joined Manchester United because Karim Benzema rejected them
Frenchman joined Real Madrid when he left Lyon despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s desire to sign him
‘I only came to United because he chose Real Madrid instead of United,’ Owen told BT Sport.
‘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 Madrid striker has been in superb form this season with 28 goals in all competitions, including a vital equaliser in last week’s first leg against Chelsea.
Benzema spent much of his early career in Spain playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is very much the main man for Zinedine Zidane’s side these days.
‘Yeah he’s in great form. Who isn’t going to be in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow when he’s at your club?,’ Owen said.
‘He’s in great form, he has a variety of finishes with either foot. Brilliant in the air, he places or goes for power.
Benzema has been in top form for Madrid this season with 28 goals in all competitions so far
‘He can link up as well. 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.’
Rio Ferdinand played against Benzema in 2008 while the striker was still at Lyon, as Manchester United overcame the French side in the Champions League.
The BT pundit confirmed that his former manager was a long time admirer of Frenchman and was desperate to bring him to Old Trafford.
‘The first I played against him, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport.
‘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.’
Rio Ferdinand revealed how much Ferguson wanted to bring Benzema to Old Trafford in 2008