A report has revealed how Manchester City’s players reacted to the news that Omar Berrada will leave the club for Manchester United.
Last week the news broke that Berrada will leave his position as chief operations officer of City Football Group – the holdings company that runs City – to become chief executive office (CEO) at crosstown rivals United.
The Spaniard has held several positions at City and CFG since leaving Barcelona in 2011, playing a key behind-the-scenes role in City becoming the powerhouse they are today.
The appointment of Berrada is the first major decision Sir Jim Ratcliffe has influenced since his company INEOS completed its minority investment in the club.
While the move for Berrada was a joint decision between INEOS and the Glazer family, Ratcliffe identified Berrada as the ideal candidate to replace Richard Arnold, who stepped down as United’s CEO last year.
Supporters of both clubs were caught off-guard by the news, and it appears City’s treble-winning players were too.
Pep Guardiola’s squad were taking part in a warm-weather training camp in the United Arab Emirates when the news broke last week, and had no prior knowledge of Berrada’s decision to leave.
According to The Athletic, “Players and coaching staff were shocked to learn he was leaving for Old Trafford,” while most staff at the club had “no suspicions that Berrada was about to jump ship.”
Guardiola, City’ chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain were reportedly informed of Berrada’s decision before the news went public.
City have placed Berrada on gardening leave for six months, meaning he will not start his new role at United until the summer.
According to The Athletic, United’s approach to Berrada was so discreet that some senior figures at the club were not aware of it until his appointment was reported in the media.
United’s communications team weren’t aware, meaning they didn’t have time to look through Berrada’s historic tweets about the club before confirming his appointment.