Did Arsenal nearly sign Cristiano Ronaldo before Manchester United transfer? Portugal star says ‘of course it is true’

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he was ‘very close’ to joining Arsenal before eventually signing for Manchester United.

The Portuguese superstar was making a name for himself as a talented teenager at Sporting Lisbon in the early 2000s.

A number of clubs were interested in him, among them United and Arsenal, but it was Sir Alex Ferguson who won the race after witnessing Ronaldo in action during a pre-season encounter in 2003.

GettyImages 81188838 - Did Arsenal nearly sign Cristiano Ronaldo before Manchester United transfer? Portugal star says ‘of course it is true’
Ronaldo joined Man United in August 2003 and the rest, as they say, is history
Getty Images – Getty

Speaking during his ITV interview with Piers Morgan, a life-long Arsenal fan, the Juventus star was pressed on whether there was any truth in him possibly moving to north London.

“It is true,” said Ronaldo. “Of course it is true.

When asked how close he came to joining the Gunners, the Juventus star added: “Very close. One step. Seriously.

“It didn’t happen, but Arsenal, I appreciate what they did for me, especially Arsene Wenger. In football you never know where you are going to play, life is like that.

“But I appreciate Arsenal because it is a fantastic club and you support Arsenal. And now you support Juventus.”

The former Man United and Real Madrid star was then presented with his own Arsenal shirt complete with his name and iconic number seven.

NINTCHDBPICT000522876133 - Did Arsenal nearly sign Cristiano Ronaldo before Manchester United transfer? Portugal star says ‘of course it is true’
Piers Morgan gave Ronaldo a personalised Arsenal shirt during their interview
ITV

“This is what should have happened, it’s what I’ve dreamed of for the last 16 years,” said the presenter.

“It’s not too late.”

In a candid interview, Ronaldo discussed a number of topics from family to wealth, while also saying he wants to win more Ballon d’Or awards than Lionel Messi, with both men level on five each.

 

“Messi’s in the history of football – but I think I have to have six or seven or eight to be above him,”said Ronaldo.

“I’d love it, I think I deserve it.”

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