Cristiano Ronaldo has donned in three of the biggest club jerseys in three top European leagues, but his career path could have been entirely different. Here, we bring to you the list of clubs who almost signed Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of his career.
5 Clubs Who Almost Signed Cristiano Ronaldo
Below are the five clubs who almost signed Cristiano Ronaldo before the superstar made his glorious moves to the European top clubs that represented to date. Some names in this list will obviously surprise you!
Probably, one could make a world-class starting XI from the players who the Gunners missed out on signing. One of them is no other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has himself confessed that he was “very close” to joining Arsenal while still in the budding stages of his career.
“It is true. Of course it is true,” he told ITV in September 2019. “Very close. One step. Seriously.”
The story dates back to when a young Cris had just started creating a buzz in the football world as a talented teenager at Sporting CP in the early 2000s. One of the managers who wanted to snap up Ronaldo then was Arsene Wenger.
Even Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, in his biography ‘The Agent One’ revealed that his client was close to moving to the Emirates Stadium but the transfer couldn’t go through due to Arsenal’s lack of finances.
2. FC Barcelona
Former Los Blancos president Roman Calderon in an interview with AS revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson did not want Ronaldo to join Real Madrid. He also said that FC Barcelona was interested in landing the youngster, but the Portuguese were eager to move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, that wasn’t the first time Barcelona missed out on the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. The Catalan club was offered the chance to sign him for just €17 million back in 2003 but they turned down the offer.
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Try to view Cristiano Ronaldo in any other La Liga jersey other than Real Madrid is hard, but it could have become a reality. The Portuguese could have left England much earlier – after his infamous World Cup clash with Wayne Rooney – and it was Valencia who was giving him the escape route.
Valencia’s former sporting director Amedeo Carboni, last year, revealed to Il Posticipo that the Real Madrid record goalscorer had agreed to move to Mestalla in 2006. Carboni also claimed that he had “the contracts signed by [Jorge] Mendes, nothing was missing between Ronaldo, his agent and myself.”
But then, the deal failed to go through and he ended up staying at Old Trafford for a further three years.
4. Inter Milan
Internationale was one among a host of clubs who almost signed Cristiano Ronaldo during his Sporting days.
The club legend Sandro Mazzola previously admitted to having been left in awe of a young Ronaldo upon watching him play in Portugal, via fcinternews. Mazzola invited him to join Inter, but Cristiano ignored his approach.
Mazzola also went as far as requesting the club’s hierarchy to sign Ronaldo but they felt he “was not worth all that money.”
They might be a surprise guest in this list, but the truth was that Cristiano Ronaldo could have joined forces with his current employers much earlier in his career – at just 17 years old.
“When I was working for Juventus, I called Turin and said he was going to be the best player in the world, obviously behind Diego Maradona,” Gianni Di Marzio told EFE, via Goal.
“I negotiated and brought Cristiano to Turin in 2002 to sign for Juventus. But [Marcelo] Salas did not accept the swap deal. For a few million euros, Salas did not want to go and he later ended up at River Plate.”
“That is how Juventus lost Cristiano Ronaldo. [His agent Jorge Mendes] knows this story very well.”
Which club do you think Cristiano Ronaldo could have joined earlier to have made even a better career? Over to you!