Former Liverpool manager reveals why the club did not sign Cristiano Ronaldo
In 2003, before Manchester United went on to sign Ronaldo, Liverpool had the chance to do so. The reason they didn't will shock you!
What's the story?
Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has come and out revealed that the Anfield outfit were interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo when the Portuguese superstar was still a colt raising eyebrows across Europe with some scintillating performances for Sporting CP, but eventually gave up on their pursuit due to wage constraints that meant he couldn't offer Ronaldo what he had been demanding at the time.
"I saw him in the Toulon Under-21 tournament and we went for him," admitted Houllier. "But we had a wage scale and we weren't paying the sort of salary he wanted."
"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."
In case you didn't know
Cristiano Ronaldo has, of course, won everything under the sky since then taking away four Ballons d'Or, and the mantle of record-scorer for Real Madrid and Portugal... Liverpool meanwhile walked away with Harry Kewell from Leeds in a cut-price £5 million deal in 2003, when Manchester United and Alex Ferguson plumped a then-astonishing amount of £12.24 million - making him the most expensive teenager in English football at the moment.
"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" said Houllier
The heart of the matter
Houllier's assistant at the time Phil Thompson had already detailed why the contracts for two youngsters signed at the time, Florent Sinama Pongolle and Anthony Le Tallec caused them to be wary of disrupting the team dynamics
"We had just signed Florent Sinama Pongolle and Anthony Le Tallec, both on far less than Ronaldo's aspirations," said Thompson. "And we would have had anarchy if the other players had found out how much we were considering paying for an 18-year-old kid. We looked for a compromise. Ten days later I was sitting in a lounge at Anfield having some lunch and looking at the big TV screen. Up came the news United had signed Ronaldo from Lisbon for £12.2m. Gerard and myself nearly choked on our food!"
The Ronaldo that so wowed Liverpool and United at the time:
What a decision by Sir Alex to go get him!
Need I add anything to this? What would have been if Ronaldo had strutted out in Liverpool red, is well.... unimaginably different, isn't it?