CRISTIANO RONALDO COULD HAVE BEEN AT ARSENAL
English Premier League giant Arsenal could have had another Thierry Henry in Cristiano Ronaldo if there were funds to get the player when he was still young, according to reports.
A former Gunner European Scout, Damien Comolli, has opened the lid on a lost opportunity to get the Portugal international.
Comolli said that Arsenal had huge interest in the player when he was young but missed out on the current superstar due to financial constraints. Comolli said Ronaldo even visited the club’s London Colney training ground as interest built up around him when he was still playing at Sporting Lisbon.
The Scout said Arsenal tried luring Ronaldo but they were unable to reach an agreement to land the youngster, leaving United to sign him in 2003.
“The first time I saw Ronaldo, it was at the Montaigu tournament, he was 15. He played against Japan before and I thought ‘who the hell is?’ At half time, I called my contact in Portugal to which I said that I had seen a phenomenon. Since Thierry Henry, I had never seen anyone like that,” the former Spurs and Reds director of football said to SFR Sport – a French TV station.
“He came to the training centre twice. Nobody knows that. He met Thierry, who was his idol. But when it came to making the transfer, there was no money. Some months later, Manchester United secured a partnership with Sporting and they played a friendly match in Lisbon. He slaughtered them and Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘He must go to United,’” Comolli revealed.
Ronaldo turned out to be a major star in the United set-up and helped them win multiple trophies. He earned United good business when he completed his switch to Real Madrid for a whole record fee in 2009.