Arrigo Sacchi: I tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo

Arrigo Sacchi: I tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo


Arrigo Sacchi has revealed in an interview that he tried to sign Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo when the player was still an up-and-coming teenager at Sporting Lisbon.

The Italian, who was director of football at Los Blancos for one season, was manager of Parma at the time – 2001 – when he contacted Sporting about signing the talented teenage winger.

But he was told he hadn’t offered enough money and wouldn’t be sold. Sacchi only spent one season at Parma and never had the chance to return with a higher bid, and Ronaldo was sold to Manchester United in 2003, spending six seasons in the north west of England prior to his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009 for a world record 95 million euros.

Speaking about a recent trip to Valdebebas to observe his friend Carlo Ancelotti’s training methods, Sacchi was reminded of the time he bid for Ronaldo.

“When [Ronaldo] saw me, he greeted me cordially, stepped off his exercise bike and told me: ‘I know that your Parma wanted to buy me when I was at Sporting, but unfortunately for you Manchester offered more’,” the 68-year-old stated.

And he continued: “Cristiano has a great relationship with his teammates and with Carlo in particular. He is well-educated and most of all, modest.”