Cristiano Ronaldo Almost Went to Arsenal over Man United in ’03, Arsene Wenger Reveals


cristiano ronaldo locker

Cristiano Ronaldo was very close to becoming an Arsenal player in 2003, Arsene Wenger revealed. The Gunners were involved in the race to acquire the Portugese galactico from Sporting CP in 2003, when he was just 18-years-old, but weren’t willing to match the amount that Manchester United shelled out (reportedly £12 million) to get one of the greatest players of all time.

According to Wenger, who just stepped down this past week as manager of Arsenal after 22 years, Ronaldo is the player that he most regrets missing out on. The Frenchman gave an interview, entitled “The One that Got Away” to Arsenal’s website, in which he revealed just how close the north London side came to signing CR7.

Ronaldo had visited the club, but the asking price ended up being more than they could afford to spend.

“He was here with his mother and we were very close, then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach. United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him,” Wenger said.

“There is always something you could have done differently, but the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don’t give in.

“Once we were at £4.5 million, we were still in negotiations. David met with (Ronaldo’s agent Jorge) Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting, so we were very close, but Man United went to £12 million, which we could not afford at the time.”

“You could imagine at the time what it would have been like to have Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together. Later Man United had Rooney, Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy together, they had an exceptional football team, and Giggs and Scholes together

arsene wenger

“That would certainly have changed a little bit the history of my stay here as well.”
Yes, it certainly would have changed history for Wenger for Arsenal, to say the least!
Ronaldo currently has five Ballon d’Or awards, four European Golden Shoes and counting. Forbes ranks him as the highest paid athlete in the world, and ESPN ranks him as the world’s most famous jock.
Regarding Wenger, as of Thursday, we still do not know what his future plans are, nor have we seen any further developments in the search for his successor.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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