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Rory McIlroy has revealed he turned down the chance to invest in Leeds United earlier this year – insisting that, as a Manchester United supporter, he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

The world No.2 told Sky Sports that he was invited to join fellow major champions Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in buying into 49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of NFL side San Franciscio 49ers.

The group completed a £170million takeover of English Championship side Leeds United during the summer.

However, the Elland Road side’s long-standing rivalry with Manchester United prevented McIlroy from ploughing in some of his fortune.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of this week’s Formula 1 race in Austin, McIlroy said: “They asked me if I wanted to come on board and I was like, as a Man Utd fan, can’t go anywhere near that.”

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The 34-year-old is in Texas for the F1 this week after becoming an investor in the Alpine team.

And whilst he rejected the chance to invest in Leeds, he hasn’t ruled out buying into his beloved Manchester United.

The Old Trafford side have been at the centre of takeover talks for the best part of 12 months after current owners the Glazer family revealed in November 2022 that they were open to selling the club.

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Qatar banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani recently withdrew from the running to buy the three-time European Cup winners, with British businessman Jim Ratcliffe now thought to be the favourite to take over.

McIlroy, named the UK’s richest sportsperson under the age of 35 earlier this year, is open to the prospect of investing in the Red Devils, saying he would have “loved to have taken a 0.00001 per cent” share of the club

“I would love to be able to own a tiny percentage of the club I grew up cheering on as a boy,” he said.

“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.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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