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Rory McIlroy said he is open to the prospect of investing in Manchester United and welcomed Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s proposed involvement with his boyhood club.
The 34-year-old Northern Irishman, who helped Europe win the Ryder Cup in Rome a few weeks ago, was speaking at the Circuit of Americas in Texas after acquiring a stake in Formula One team Alpine.
McIlroy, former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua, Liverpool and England star Trent Alexander-Arnold and World Cup winner Juan Mata have been announced as part of a £173million strategic investment led by consortium Otro Capital in Alpine.
Ratcliffe, 71, is reportedly looking to purchase a 25 per cent stake in United that could see him take over football operations at Old Trafford.
And McIlroy said: “Sports team ownership used to be limited to private equity, and people who had a ton of money. But now sports stars are becoming more savvy and using their money in the right way.
“I would love to be able to own a tiny percentage of the club I grew up cheering on as a boy.
“I would have loved to have taken 0.00001 per cent of Manchester United when Jim Ratcliffe took 25 per cent. And if another opportunity comes my way I will look at it. But it is not something that has come across our table as of yet.
“There is Tom Brady at Birmingham and there are a few golfers – Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas – who invested with the 49ers Group, and they own a tiny slice of Leeds. They asked me if I wanted to come on board, and I said as a Man United fan I cannot go anywhere near that.
“Sir Jim has got a great track record and everybody that does support United should be excited by the possibilities if they give him full sporting authority and decisions for the club. As a fan I am excited.”
McIlroy finished as Europe’s top points-scorer at Marco Simone after a convincing 3&1 singles win against Sam Burns.
He had been embroiled in angry scenes the previous evening following the actions of Patrick Cantlay’s bagman Joe LaCava on the 18th green, furiously gesticulating in the direction of Justin Thomas’ caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay in the car park.
Three weeks on, McIlroy was asked if he had any regrets over the incident.
“Jeez, no, not at all,” he said. “I felt like what happened in the car park galvanised the team and it benefited us.
“Things happen in the heat of the moment. Tensions were high but Joe came into the European team room on Sunday night and had a drink and a chat. I have had a great relationship with Joe over the years and that wasn’t going to change.
“The incident happened. I didn’t want to meet anyone on the Sunday morning because I wanted what happened to fuel me and my focus was on making sure Europe won the Ryder Cup, and then we will sort all the other stuff out after. And it is all fine. We are all friends.”