Why Liverpool Didn't Sign Cristiano Ronaldo In 2003
Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo playing for Liverpool.
A scrawny Portuguese winger ran riot against Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in a pre-season friendly. His performance was so good, United subsequently snapped him up.
£12.24 million prized him away from Sporting Lisbon, with Ronaldo becoming a hero at Old Trafford. He won the lot while in England. From Premier League titles, FA Cup's to experiencing Champions League glory in 2008.
But it could have been so different.
Ronaldo and Wes Brown celebrate winning the Champions League. Image: PA
Gerard Houllier scouted the player, and attempted to sign him before Manchester United made contact.
Though his wage packet did not fit into Liverpool's structure, thus they had to pass up on signing the wonderkid.
"I saw him in the Toulon Under-21 tournament and we went for him, but we had a wage scale and we weren't paying the sort of salary he wanted," Houllier revealed via Daily Mail.
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Ronaldo making his United debut to scoring against Liverpool in the league. Images: PA
Houllier, who managed Liverpool from 1998 to 2004, also agreed to not break the mold while explaining how United ultimately acquired his services.
"Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson, 'You have to sign him'. But I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room."
Kewell in action for Liverpool. Image: PA
Houllier added: "I know some of the signings were not as sharp as they could have been. Maybe we would have won the title with Ronaldo, but we had Harry Kewell, who was outstanding at the time and was very hungry but got a bad injury. After that, he never had the same confidence, the same appetite."
Sir Alex has many victories over Liverpool, but pipping them to the signing of Ronaldo may just be his most significant in his illustrious managerial career.