Portugal forward was on the verge of joining the Gunners a decade ago.
Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger has revealed just how close the north London club came to signing Cristiano Ronaldo before the Portuguese joined arch-rivals Manchester United, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.
The now Real Madrid superstar was taking part in a trial with the Gunners ten years ago, with the playmaker seemingly on the verge of agreeing terms with the club, that is until the then Red Devils’ Portuguese assistant manager Carlos Queiroz stepped in and managed to persuade the player to move to Old Trafford instead.
And in a documentary on Ronaldo that was aired on Tuesday night, the Arsenal boss even claimed that the wide man had been given handed a No 9 shirt to wear at the Emirates.
“He was very close to coming here. He has a number nine shirt with Ronaldo on the back from Arsenal Football Club,” said Wenger.
“What happened was that Carlos Queiroz went to Manchester United and they snapped him away from us because he knew him from Sporting.
“That’s what life is about. You give your best but sometimes you might find that people are stronger than you. That can happen as well.”
Ronaldo eventually agreed to join United from Sporting for a fee of just £12.24 million in the summer of 2003, with the Portugal international going on to become a legend in the north west.
And, during his six-year stay at Old Trafford, the 28-year-old went on to find the back of the net on 118 occasions in total in just 292 matches in all competitions for the Premier League giants, including an equally impressive 84 strikes in 196 Premier League matches for the club, during which time the player also won three top-flight titles, the FA Cup and the Uefa Champions League.