Sir Jim Ratcliffe questions if Man Utd takeover rival Sheikh Jassim even exists | Football

Sheikh Jassim pulled out of the Man Utd takeover race in October

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has jokingly questioned if Sheikh Jassim – his Manchester United takeover rival – is even real.

The British billionaire has finally sealed his partial takeover of United, paying £1.3billion for a 27.7% stake in the Premier League giant.

Following the news in 2022 that the Glazers were to ‘explore strategic alternatives’ for the club, two leading candidates emerged in the race to buy the Red Devils: Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.

The Qatari banker looked to have beaten the INEOS owner after reports emerged in August that the Glazers had accepted a world record bid to buy the entire club, but later withdrew his bid.

Jassim was willing to pay £4bn for United, wipe its debt of around £1bn and investheavily into Old Trafford stadium and the local community.

However, it has since been said that he did not meet the Glazers asking price, but more pressingly he never provided proof of the funds and their source.

This all paved the way for Ratcliffe to achieve his dream and buy (part) of the club he supports, and the 71-year-old has now jokingly suggested his takeover rival may never have actually existed.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is officially a co-owner of Man Utd (Photo: Getty)

‘Still nobody’s ever seen him, actually,’ the United co-owner said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

‘The Glazers never met him… he never… I’m not sure he exists!’

Jassim’s bid was certainly shrouded in secrecy but the 45-year-old is indeed a real person.

Thought to be a lifelong United fan, Jassim is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), and a member of the Qatari royal family.

His father, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, was the Qatari prime minister between 2007 and 2013, and his family have a collective net worth of around £275bn according to reports.

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