Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo has revealed that he had refused to train with or play for former club Sporting Lisbon when it seemed like his transfer to Old Trafford would not go through.
The Argentina international was one of new manager Louis van Gaal's top targets last summer, and the Red Devils made repeated attempts to snap up the 24-year-old. However, the transfer almost fell through due to Sporting's asking price and issues with third-party ownership, as Doyen Sports had owned 75 percent of the player's rights.
Rojo has now stated that he went on a strike and stopped training with Sporting to force through a move to United but was convinced to return by compatriot and former Red Devils midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron.
United, Sporting and Doyen Sports eventually reached an agreement for a fee around €20m (£16m) for the sale of Rojo, with Nani moving in the other direction on a season-long loan.
"It was a huge surprise when I was told United wanted to buy me. I was in Portugal when my representative told me. He asked me to stay calm but I could not. I could not think of anything else. I would call him every day, but when it seemed the transfer would not happen then I refused to work with Sporting," Rojo pointed out.
"That was when Veron played his part in the process. He was like a strict father to me, scolding me. Veron called me one day when I had refused to train with Sporting and said 'Do not be stubborn. If Manchester United wants a player then they will not let you escape.' And so I went back and the transfer went ahead."
Rojo, who had impressed with his performances for Argentina at the 2014 World Cup, suffered a dislocated shoulder during the Manchester derby at the Etihad two weeks back, and has been sidelined till December.