There’s another football club that nearly signed Cristiano Ronaldo when he was still at Sporting Lisbon, it’s a Premier League giant.
During the early days of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career, Premier League giants were trying to sign the young star. Manchester United was only one of many. There were even clubs from all over Europe trying to get his signature. It’s already been revealed that clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan tried to get his transfer.
In England, clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal did everything they could to secure the player. Arsene Wenger recently revealed that he even made a verbal agreement with Cristiano to play with the Gunners. But Sir Alex Ferguson was smarter than everybody else. He is the one who should take all the credit for landing the deal alongside Peter Kenyon.
They are the ones who perpetuated Manchester United’s greatness for the next decade. We’ve always wondered how things could’ve been if another club signed the Portugal legend. Namely the other giant Premier League club that exists.
Liverpool was closer than anybody else.
Assistant manager Phil Thompson spoke to The Athletic about the time in which the Reds were a signature away from signing Cristiano. The deal was about to close for €6 million and €1,3 million for his wage after tax. Liverpool sent a scouting team to a Sporting Lisbon match against Porto, they were blown away by Ronaldo’s skills.
Thompson immediately demanded the club to go after the player but Manchester United got to him first. Plus, the Red Devils offered way more than anybody else. Sir Alex Ferguson always had that instinct to spot talent before anybody else did.
Thompson told the Athletic how it all went down: “I will never forget what happened next. On Tuesday morning, we were having lunch at the training ground and it came up on the yellow strap on Sky Sports. ‘Manchester United have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.2 million’.
“Gerard and myself almost choked on our food. I can remember Gerard jumping up and saying, ‘What the hell has gone on there?’”