Cristiano Ronaldo nearly moved to Arsenal in 2003 but the move was scuppered, according to a new book.
Things could have been very different for Ronaldo if Arsenal had not been in the process of building the Emirates Stadium, Guillem Balague writes in the Daily Telegraph.
‘Cristiano travelled to London with his mother in January to see the club’s training ground and meet Arsène Wenger and one of his idols, Thierry Henry,’ Balague explains.
‘Cristiano fell in love with the club, what it offered, the philosophy and the care with which young players are treated.
‘Arsenal, who wanted to confirm that he had the personality required to change his own lifestyle, country, language, had no doubts after his visit: he was ready.
“The player wanted to sign for the club. [Jorge] Mendes [his agent], too. As did Wenger, who kept the number nine shirt for him.
‘The club’s vice-chairman, David Dein, travelled to the Portuguese capital to seal the deal, but the initial offer was too low for Sporting.
“Arsenal, with the construction of the new stadium, were short on funds and it wasn’t possible to make the move happen,” stated Mendes.’