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Cristiano Ronaldo news: Juventus ace reveals he was close to joining Arsenal after meeting Arsene Wenger in 2003

22 Aug 2019, 13:13 IST

Juventus v FC Internazionale - 2019 International Champions Cup
Juventus v FC Internazionale - 2019 International Champions Cup

What's the story?

Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he was close to joining Arsenal after meeting Arsene Wenger back in 2003, with the Portuguese also explaining his decision to switch to Manchester United instead.

In case you didn't know...

Ronaldo was understood to have attracted interest from multiple European powerhouses during his early days at Sporting Lisbon. 

Arsenal were one of the clubs who had the gifted Portuguese on their radar with then-manager Wenger believed to have been incredibly keen on acquiring his services.

The French manager has been credited with the signings of some of the best players the Premier League has seen during his 22-year-stint as an Arsenal manager, including the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, and Cesc Fabregas.

The Gunners were reportedly close to bringing Ronaldo to the club, with the then-young player having even visited the London Colney Training Ground. However, the club lost out on the signing to United, who made a £12 million offer for the player.

Ronaldo won nine major honours during his time at Old Trafford, including three Premier League trophies, an FA Cup and a Champions League title.

The heart of the matter

In an interview with TV1, Ronaldo revealed that he met Wenger before deciding to sign with the Red Devils, and explained the reasons behind his eventual move.

The 34-year-old said via Fox Sports Asia,

"There had been contacts with so many other teams, Valencia, for example, were one of them. I met with Arsene Wenger and was about to go to Arsenal.
"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."

What's next?

Ronaldo has since gone on to become one of the world's greatest football players, with league titles in three countries, five Champions League trophies and five Ballon d'Ors to back him.

The Portuguese currently plies his trade at Juventus, with whom he won the Serie A title last season.

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