Arsene Wenger has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo was so close to signing for Arsenal before he made his switch to Manchester United that he even had his own squad number, The
Ronaldo, had a week-long trial at Arsenal and was even given the No. 9 shirt before joining United in 2003. Despite insisting he wasn’t distraught, Wenger admitted his rivals were able to capture the player who became the most expensive in history when leaving Old Trafford for Real Madrid in 2009.
Ronaldo has made 142 appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s side and has won the La Liga title once since making the switch to Spain. The Portugal captain had his record fee broken during the summer, when Gareth Bale joined Ronaldo at Real Madrid for £85m.
Wenger believed he was going to sign the 28-year-old, who was just a teenager at the time, but was pipped by Manchester United after coming ‘very close’ to nabbing the Portuguese winger.
The Arsenal manager said: “He was very close to coming here. He has a number 9 shirt with Ronaldo on the back from Arsenal Football Club.
“What happened was that Carlos Queiroz went to Manchester United and they snapped him away from us because he knew him from Sporting,” Wenger added. “That’s what life is about. You give your best but sometimes you might find that people are stronger than you. That can happen as well.”
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