How Manchester United beat Arsenal to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo

Arsenal missed out on signing Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 because Manchester United was the only team who had faith in him, according to his agent Jorge Mendes.

The Juventus star was on the radar of England’s three big sides – Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool.

He has admitted in the past that he came close to joining Arsenal but the deal never went through.

The Portuguese star’s agent has now shed more light on the transfer claiming that all the teams who wanted him wanted to loan him back to Sporting Lisbon to continue his development, however, Sir Alex Ferguson was prepared to play him right away and that swung the transfer in Manchester United’s favour.

Mendes said: “I’ve always maintained that the coach is, in the end, the most important component in any transfer.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a perfect answer.

“Every club wanted him, but they all wanted him to have another season loaned back to Sporting.

“The only person who seemed willing to take him on immediately was Sir Alex Ferguson and, at that time, I had no doubt it was the best solution.

“My decision, made without a second thought, was that Manchester United was the ideal club for him.

“I’m sure that, if Cristiano Ronaldo had stayed at Sporting, he wouldn’t have played half the game he played for Manchester United in the first season.

“At the end of which, by the way, he was voted the team’s best player by the fans.”

Ronaldo would go on to win numerous trophies for Manchester United before he joined Real Madrid after helping them win the Champions League in 2008.

He is currently on the books of Juventus and has won five Ballon d’Ors, and has broken numerous goalscoring records in Spain. Arsenal fans can only wonder what could have been had they signed him.

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