Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger has revealed how Manchester United hijacked the Gunners’ chances of signing Cristiano Ronaldo 17 years ago.
The Portuguese great moved to Old Trafford for £12.24million in the summer of 2003, having famously impressed against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in a pre-season fixture against Sporting Lisbon.
Ronaldo went on to become a United legend, winning the first of his five Ballon d’Or awards there and also playing a major role in their last Champions League success.
Since leaving England the 35-year-old has firmly established himself as one of the greatest players of all-time.
However, things could have turned out very differently had Arsenal snapped up their target.
Wenger has previously stated that missing out on Ronaldo was perhaps the biggest transfer regret of his career.
But now he’s added how United got the better of Arsenal in the battle for a legend of the game.
“I would say there is not one player, there are 50 (I regret not signing)!” Wenger told The Guardian.
“On the other hand, maybe the closest was Cristiano Ronaldo, when he signed for Man United.
“We had an agreement with Sporting and Man United took Carlos Queiroz as assistant coach. They just outbid us quickly and took Ronaldo.
“But we had an agreement basically. He had the shirt of Arsenal, I had lunch with him and his mother at the training ground!
“It’s one example but there were so many. The history of a big club is full of missed great players!”
Giggs tipped to replace Solskjaer
Manchester United legend Mark Hughes is confident that Ryan Giggs now has what it takes to become the club’s manager.
Giggs took interim charge at Old Trafford when David Moyes was sacked in 2014, before working as Louis van Gaal’s assistant.
And Hughes believes the current Wales boss will be “in the frame” to take charge of the Red Devils, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is shown the door after a woeful start to the new season.
“I think Ryan is in a good place in his management career,” Hughes told the BBC.
“He is on an upward trend. He is probably more likely to get an opportunity at United than he was when van Gaal left in 2016.” Read more…