Cristiano Ronaldo came close to joining Liverpool prior to his rise to prominence, reveals former club manager Gerard Houllier.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s genius was still hidden from the world when he arrived in the Premier League as an 18-year-old way back in 2003.
It was Sir Alex Ferguson who first spotted the talent in him and signed the Portuguese sensation for Manchester United.
However, he was not the only manager aware of the unpolished diamond that was Ronaldo while he was still in Portugal.
A handful of coaches have revealed that they almost signed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner back when he was still in Sporting Lisbon, and former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is also one of them.
“In 2002, the year I was sick, we decided to take Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma, two Sporting CP players,” narrated Houllier, as per Goal.
“We had been following Cristiano for a year, but it was dragging a bit because at the salary level it was more demanding than what we could do for Ronaldo.
“You have to know that there was a salary policy at Liverpool and Michael Owen had just won the Ballon d’Or. You couldn’t give a 17-year-old a higher salary than him.
“I have had a lot of contact with Cristiano but Manchester United played a friendly against Lisbon. His price went from £4 million to £13m and we could not match it.
“Maybe also our recruiter should have said yes right away but he wanted to be sure, to not make a mistake.”