Arsene Wenger said Cristiano Ronaldo has worn Arsenal’s jersey before Sir Ferguson snatched him away

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Former Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger said he was on the verge of signing Cristiano Ronaldo before the former coach of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson jumped on the deal.

Between 2002 and 2003, Ronaldo was one of the most promising youngsters in Portuguese football. Most big clubs in Europe wanted his services including Arsenal and Manchester United.

His Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon were ready to sell Ronaldo to the highest bidder. Arsene Wenger said Arsenal were ready to pay €4 million for the services of the Portuguese footballer then.

However, Sporting Lisbon wanted more money and Arsenal were not ready to increase their offer. Then, Manchester United jumped on the opportunity and offered Sporting Lisbon €12 million which the Portuguese club accepted.

Arsene Wenger said: “He was at our training ground and even wore an Arsenal jersey! But we could only pay €4m (£3.4m) back then. [Sir Alex] snatched him from me! And for €12m (£10.2m).”

Arsene Wenger says the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United is a love story

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger.

Cristiano Ronaldo spent 6 years at Manchester United between 2003 and 2009 before he left the club for Real Madrid. After 9 years in Madrid, he left for Juventus.

After just three years in Italy, Ronaldo decided to return to Manchester United at 36-year-old.

Speaking to BILD, as quoted by Metro, Arsene Wenger described Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United as a love story.

“This is a love story that you want to see”, the retired coach said.

“[He was re-signed] for more than just sporting reasons, it’s also emotional. I think the decision is not 100 percent rational.

“Finding a balance in the team is a big challenge. But the players with a lot of experience still score a lot.”

Wenger is done with Arsenal

Arsene Wenger is done with Arsenal
File photo of Arsene Wenger and Mikel Arteta.

Arsene Wenger coached Arsenal between 1996 and 2018. During his era at the club, he was known to always sign promising footballers across the world who he would groom and sell for huge transfer fees.

Despite this policy, the French tactician made the Premier League club very competitive and consistent. His Arsenal team often finished in the top four aside from winning three Premier League titles with the club.

Currently, the club is being coached by Mikel Arteta. So far this season, the Spanish coach has not been able to help Arsenal to win any Premier League game. They have recorded three defeats in three games, conceded 9 goals, and scored none.

Due to this performance, the club’s board is reportedly considering replacing Arteta by October if he fails to improve the fortunes of the club.

Arsene Wenger was touted to return to Arsenal as a coach but the French tactician said he has given Arsenal his best years.

He said: “Today the club is in good shape. They had two tough games [against Chelsea and Man City], the team has potential and I hope they can come back…

“I’m 71. I’ve given this club the best years of my life. At the moment I’m just a fan.”