Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has revealed why the player chose Manchester United over Arsenal back in 2003.
As quoted by the Sun, Mendes shed some light on details surrounding the transfer saga at the time, citing Sir Alex Ferguson has a major reason for the young talent chose the Red Devils.
He stated: “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.”
At the time, Ronaldo was just 18 years of age and whilst the potential was there, teams clearly felt that he would develop better in Portugal. As a tricky winger, he was dangerous but also still a raw product, with Mendes suggesting that many clubs did not want to throw the Portuguese talent into their starting elevens.
However, the agent has revealed that the Man United boss was ready to take the gamble: “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.”
The Red Devils then went on to make Ronaldo the most expensive teenager in English football history (at the time, as reported by the Telegraph), with their investment no doubt paying off. He actually made twenty-nine Premier League appearances that season, before going on to win three titles during his time in Manchester.
Mendes’ comments will actually come as a blow to Arsenal fans, as it coincides to when Ronaldo revealed to Piers Morgan in an interview (video below) that he came very close to becoming a Gunner. The club were interested in the player at the same time as United, but they clearly weren’t as committed to giving the talent the same first-team minutes.
Now recognised by many as the greatest of all time, we aren’t sure that a club will ever regret not signing a player more, than in Arsenal and Ronaldo’s case.