Kenyon reveals why Man Utd signed Ronaldo over Ronaldinho in 2003

Date published: Sunday 19th July 2020 12:52

Ronaldinho; Cristiano Ronaldo TEAMtalk

Former Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon has revealed why the club opted to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 rather than Ronaldinho.

Having sold David Beckham to Real Madrid, United were on the hunt for a new big-name winger that summer.

Ronaldinho was the original target, but Kenyon says United were priced out of a deal. Leading them to sign Ronaldo for just £12m instead.

“We did try really hard for Ronaldinho,” Kenyon told the Daily Telegraph. “And in the end we offered what was a load of money even by our standards and there came a point…

“Getting the player just for the amount of money paid didn’t sit well at United. There was a decision that if he is right and we do want him we will pay because we could.

“It crossed the line and on reflection – and this is not about his ability – it turned out to be a great decision.”

Ronaldinho went on to do amazing things at Barcelona, while Ronaldo became an Old Trafford legend.

Kenyon revealed that the initial plan was to sign Ronaldo and send him back on loan to Sporting for a season. But his performance against United in a pre-season friendly in August 2003 changed Sir Alex Ferguson’s mind.

“I got a call at half-time saying, ‘Rather than leave him here, can we take him home please?’ Kenyon added.

“So the team left the next day and I stayed to do it. That’s where Alex was absolutely amazing. He sold Manchester United better than anybody. He never over-promised but he got people wanting to be there.”

 

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