"Real Madrid nearly signed me instead of Ronaldo," claims Argentinian legend
- Real Madrid nearly signed former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo in the summer of 2002.
- Real Madrid signed the likes of Ronaldo Nazario, Luis Figo, David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane as part of the Galacticos project.
Crespo is widely regarded as one of the most decorated strikers of his generation and came very close to securing a move to Real Madrid in 2002.
However, the former Chelsea striker claimed that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez opted to sign Ronaldo instead. Crespo has represented the likes of AC Milan, Chelsea, and Inter Milan amongst other clubs and is fourth on the list of all-time top scorers for Argentina.
The former Real Madrid target also added that he had an offer from Inter Milan that year, which he accepted because Ronaldo secured a switch to Real Madrid.
"I would have loved to go to Spain, I had the chance to go to Real Madrid in 2002. He [Florentino Perez] had everything ready to go, but I also had an offer from Inter Milan. As Ronaldo Nazario went to Real Madrid, I went to Inter Milan"
Real Madrid's Galacticos approach began that summer, as the likes of David Beckham, Luis Figo, Zidane and Ronaldo joined the in the space of 12 months to kick start a new era at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The birth of Real Madrid's Galacticos
Since then, several big-money deals have been sanctioned by the club to ensure that they retain their status as one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Eden Hazard have been snapped up by Real Madrid in the past decade. Kylian Mbappe, who is an admirer of Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo, is their dream transfer target as things stand.
Crespo also affirmed that he had an opportunity to go to Real Madrid as a coach, which also failed to materialize. The Argentine was tipped to join Carlo Ancelotti at the Bernabeu, but Perez opted to choose Zidane instead of him.
"I also had the chance to go to Real Madrid with Carlo Ancelotti. I wasn't asked to be a coaching staff at Real Madrid, but I was asked to be someone external who worked for him. Ultimately, Florentino Perez chose Zinedine Zidane."
"I would have loved to go to Spain. My philosophy of coaching goes hand in hand with that of Spanish football"
Crespo currently manages Defensa y Justicia in the Argentinian top-flight, as he looks to have a successful career on the touchline. Real Madrid came close to securing his signature twice, but it wasn't meant to be for the Argentine.
In recent weeks, footballing activity has been resumed in Europe after a two-month hiatus owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Bundesliga was the first of the European leagues to return, but the rest of the major leagues are expected to follow suit this month.
Real Madrid are currently two points behind Barcelona in the La Liga summit and are looking to win their first league title since the 2016-17 season.Published 01 Jun 2020, 16:31 IST