Arsene Wenger has named Cristiano Ronaldo as the one player he regrets not signing for Arsenal. Ronaldo has previously admitted that he came ‘within an inch’ of moving to Arsenal before he joined Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon for £12.2 million in 2003.
The Portugal international went on to establish himself as one of the world’s best players under Sir Alex Ferguson and won eight major trophies during his six seasons at Old Trafford. But Wenger believes Ronaldo’s career would have followed the same trajectory had he joined Arsenal instead.
When asked in a Q&A with Arsenal fans to name the one player he wished he had signed for Arsenal, Wenger replied: ‘I nearly signed Ronaldo and I think that would have changed the history of Arsenal Football Club. ‘The Ronaldo story was very, very close.’
Wenger also revealed that he launched an ambitious attempt to sign Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique in 2003 when Cesc Fabregas decided to make the move to Arsenal’s academy. ‘Messi as well, because we were interested in him,’ said Wenger. ‘When Fabregas came here we asked Messi and Pique to join as well, that didn’t work.’
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