Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has revealed how the Reds missed out on signing Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United, as reported by Goal.
Ronaldo is one of the greatest players ever to pull on a Manchester United shirt – or a football shirt, period.
The prospect of him playing at Anfield as anything other than an away team player is something that no Man United fan would ever wish to entertain.
However, ex-Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier has revealed that his side did come close to signing Ronaldo, but ultimately missed out on his signature to their rivals.
He’s quoted by Goal saying:
“In 2002, the year I was sick, we decided to take Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma, two Sporting CP players. They had won the Toulon tournament with Portugal and were very good on the wings.”
“We had been following Cristiano for a year, but it was dragging a bit because at the salary level it was more demanding than what we could do for Ronaldo.”
“You have to know that there was a salary policy at Liverpool and Michael Owen had just won the Ballon d’Or. You couldn’t give a 17-year-old a higher salary than him.”
“I have had a lot of contact with Cristiano but Manchester United played a friendly against Lisbon. Sporting won 3-1, Cristiano scored two goals [sic: Ronaldo did not score in the fixture] and all the United players said he had to be bought.”
“His price went from £4 million to £13m and we could not match it. Maybe also our recruiter should have said yes right away but he wanted to be sure, to not make a mistake.”
Talk about the butterfly effect, how could the landscape in football right now be different if Ronaldo ended up at Liverpool?
Would he have been given the faith Sir Alex Ferguson showed in him? Would he have hit the ground running as he did at Old Trafford?
Would one of the greatest players of all-time have been another young player with promise who falls short?
So many questions which will forever remain unanswered.