Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, has revealed that the player almost joined Arsenal as a 17-year old. However, the deal broke down because of the club’s investment to build the Emirates stadium.Earlier, Arsene Wenger admitted that missing out on Ronaldo, prior to him joining Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon was one of the biggest regrets of his career. The Portuegese ace trailed at the club for a week.
It was previously speculated that United beat Arsenal to Ronaldo’s signature, due to former assistant manager Carlos Queiroz’s link with Sporting Lisbon. However, Mendes’ new biography titled the ‘The Agent One’, claims that the London club could not match the asking price because of their Highbury exit.
Mendes said, “There was a moment in which I really thought he was going to Arsenal. David Dein is a spectacular person but, with the construction of their stadium, they were left with very little money and it wasn’t possible.”Ronaldo also recollected incidents from the time,he said, “We were travelling by car and Jorge was calling us constantly telling me to hide so no one would see me. We went to a service station and I had to hide my face. I remember back then that Jorge was going crazy, those were Jorge’s craziest days.”
Mendes added, “The only person key to everything was Alex Ferguson. He told me that Cristiano was going to play at least 50 per cent of the games for Manchester United and that’s what I wanted to hear. That’s why Cristiano went to Manchester United.”