Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed how a friendly match against Manchester United saw a proposed move to Arsenal collapse in 2003.
Ronaldo famously represented United between 2003 and 2009, winning three Premier League titles and the Uefa Champions League trophy in the process, but he could have been an Arsenal player if things had worked out differently.
In an interview with Portuguese TV station TVI, and as reported by Marca, the 34-year-old has revealed that a number of teams were courting him prior to his move to Old Trafford, and that a friendly match between Sporting and the Red Devils ultimately changed his destination.
"There had been contacts with so many other teams, Valencia, for example, were one of them, (but) I met with Arsene Wenger and was about to go to Arsenal," Ronaldo explained.
"I talked to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter too, but after the friendly against Manchester United, who were already interested, they became even more interested and they sped up negotiations and signed me."
United legend Gary Neville was reportedly instrumental in making the deal happen after he insisted the club sign Ronaldo following the friendly.
The Portugal talisman went on to score 118 goals in 292 appearances for the Red Devils before joining Real Madrid in 2009 for a then-world record fee of €94 million (R1.5 billion).
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