Football News

‘I appreciate what Wenger did for me’ – Cristiano Ronaldo explains failed Arsenal transfer

By CJ Smith

Published: 16:26, 18 September 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he was “one step away” from becoming an Arsenal player in 2003.

Ronaldo was scouted by the Gunners and Manchester United in during his time with Sporting Lisbon but eventually chose to join the latter.

How close was Ronaldo to joining Arsenal? Five things to know…

  • Ronaldo signed for United in 2003 and won seven major honours at Old Trafford.
  • But he has now revealed he was just “one step away” from joining Arsenal.
  • The Portugal international says he appreciates what Wenger did for him at that time.
  • Ronaldo has managed six goals and two assists in 15 career appearances against Arsenal.
  • His revelation comes days after Wenger admitted he tried to sign Jadon Sancho from Man City.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was a huge success at Old Trafford, winning three Premier League titles and the 2008 Uefa Champions League among a host of major honours.

He also terrorized Arsenal on a number of occasions but has now revealed just how different things could have been, while also saying just how much he appreciates what Arsene Wenger did for him during that time.

“I was one step away from joining Arsenal,” Ronaldo told Piers Morgan.

“I appreciate what Arsenal did for me, especially Arsene Wenger. They’re a great club.”

Ronaldo’s revelation comes just days after Wenger himself added Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho to the list of players he “nearly” signed.

The young England international left Manchester City to join the Bundesliga giants but Wenger admitted he also tried to “lure” Sancho to the Emirates.

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“I wanted to take him from Man City when he didn’t get the games,” he said. “I tried to lure him because he’s from London. I tried to get him to Arsenal.

“He’s one of the best players of his generation. He can dribble, he has the arrogance.”

Ronaldo picks his “favourite” career goal

Ronaldo’s stunners against FC Porto and Portsmouth for Man Utd will live long in the memory, just as many other strikes will throughout one of the most esteemed careers the game has ever seen.

But, during the interview with Morgan, he revealed it was his remarkable over-head kick for Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League against current club Juventus – whose fans gave him a standing ovation for – which he holds in the highest regard.

“My favourite goal is the one I scored against Juventus. By far the best I scored in my career,” he added.

“I tried many times but I never succeeded. I think I’ll never see a bicycle goal like that, probably one of the best goals I’ve seen, even if someone else scored it.”