Legendary Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has revealed how Manchester United hijacked the Gunners’ chances of signing Cristiano Ronaldo 17 years ago.
Ronaldo joined United for £12.24million in the summer of 2003, having famously impressed against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in a pre-season fixture against Sporting Lisbon.
The former Real Madrid star became the United legend by winning the first of his five Ballon d’Or awards there and also playing a major role in their Champions League success in 2008.
Since leaving England, the 35-year-old has firmly established himself as one of the greatest players of all-time.
However, things could have turned out very differently had Arsenal snapped up their target.
Wenger has previously stated that missing out on Ronaldo was perhaps the biggest transfer regret of his career.
“I will say there is not one player, there are 50 (I regret not signing)!” Wenger said.
“On the other hand, maybe the closest was Cristiano Ronaldo, when he signed for Man United”.
“We had an agreement with Sporting and Man United took Carlos Queiroz as assistant coach. They just outbid us quickly and took Ronaldo”
“But we had an agreement basically. He had the shirt of Arsenal, I had lunch with him and his mother at the training ground”
“It’s one example but there were so many. The history of a big club is full of missed great players”.