Arsenal came close to singing Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon before he became a global superstar, according to the Mirror.
Per-the-source, former Arsenal scout Damien Comolli claimed that the Gunners missed out on signing Ronaldo, despite bringing him to the club’s training ground on two occasions.
The report goes onto state that Ronaldo was introduced to his idol, Thierry Henry, in a bid to convince him to make the move to north London.
However, Manchester United snapped up the Portugal international after forming a partnership with Sporting Lisbon.
“The first time I saw Ronaldo, it was at the Montaigu tournament, he was 15,” Comolli told the French outlet SFR Sport (via Mirror).
“He played against Japan before and I thought: ‘Who the hell is this?’
“At half-time, I called my contact in Portugal to which I said that I had seen a phenomenon.
“Since Thierry Henry, I’ve never seen that.
“He came twice to the training centre. 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 made a partnership with Sporting, they played a friendly match in Lisbon.
“Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘He must go to United’.”
Ronaldo went onto provide 62 assists and score 118 goals in 291 games for Manchester United. The 31-year-old late made a move to Real Madrid where he has scored an incredible 367 goals in 354 games.
The former Sporting Lisbon man has won three Premiere League titles, one La Liga title and three UEFA Champions League trophies. Ronaldo also helped lead his nation to Euro 2016 glory over the summer.