Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said his biggest regret in the transfer market has been missing out on Cristiano Ronaldo before he became a global superstar.
The Frenchman was close to signing the forward when Ronaldo was just 18 years old and playing for Sporting Lisbon.
But Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson nipped in at the last minute to steal Ronaldo from under Wenger’s nose and the Portugal forward went to Old Trafford in a 15 million euro deal. He played for the Red Devils between 2003 and 2009 before he made his move to the Spanish capital to play for Real Madrid.
Speaking at a question and answer session this week with one of Arsenal’s sponsors, Wenger was asked what his biggest regret was in the transfer market.
And he said: “My biggest regret: I was so close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo. And not only did I not get him, but he signed for Manchester United. That, of course, still hurts today.”
Ronaldo went on to help United to numerous titles including the Premier League and Champions League. Since arriving at Madrid he has helped Los Blancos to success in La Liga and played a crucial role in the club’s 10th European Cup win last season – the much coveted Decima.