Roman Calderon revealed to Revista that Real Madrid agreed a deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United during the summer of 2008.
The Portuguese star moved to the Bernabeu in July 2009, with Sir Alex Ferguson accusing the Spanish giants of having no morals when it came to the transfer market.
However, Calderon, who was president of Real during that period, insisted that the negotiations between the clubs had been amicable.
He said: "In 2008, we started negotiations with Ronaldo. We knew from both the player and his agent, Jorge Mendes, that he wanted to change (clubs).
"I remember he phoned me when I was in Bogota for a friendly game against Santa Fe. He said: 'I'm sorry Mr President but I cannot go this year. I have a commitment with Ferguson; he is like a father to me.
"He said he had a lot of good memories with Manchester United and didn't want to leave like that, but said that we were going to get an agreement for next year and not to worry.
"And that was it. I talked to (Manchester United chief executive) David Gill and he said it wasn't the right moment. They wanted to keep Cristiano until the end of the season, and then, Manchester United agreed a deal with the player, allowing him to leave for £80million but only to Real Madrid.
"We signed an agreement with the player and his agent that said he would join us in 2009. That was perfect. When we finally sealed the deal Cristiano was very happy."
Regarding the criticism from Ferguson, Calderon believes it stemmed from frustration that he was going to lose one of his key players.
He said: "At that time I think Ferguson, who I appreciate very much and is a legend, didn't want the player to leave. But Ronaldo wanted to leave and what that happens you cannot avoid it.
"Ronaldo is very grateful to Manchester United. He didn't celebrate when he scored against them this season. But he wanted a change, that's all."