Cristiano Ronaldo would have signed for Arsenal rather than Manchester United if they former had been more decisive, according to the agent of the Real Madrid star.

The 27-year-old forward moved to Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2003, but it was the Gunners who had initially shown the most serious interest in acquiring his signature.

Arsene Wenger had sent scouts to run the rule over the Portuguese youngster on numerous occasions and, it appeared, Ronaldo would be on his way to Arsenal in time for the 2003-04 season.

However, Ronaldo soon made himself known to Sir Alex Ferguson when Manchester United met Sporting in a pre-season friendly to inaugurate the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon.

Ronaldo starred for Sporting as they defeated United 3-1 and, as Arsenal hesitated, Ferguson made his move for the promising youngster.

"I remember what happened to Ronaldo at Arsenal," Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes said, according to

"They watched him nine or ten times, and when everything seemed decided, then Manchester United played at the inauguration of the Alvaladze Stadium (Sporting Lisbon) and the players themselves urged Ferguson to buy him."

Mendes also revealed that Luis Nani moved from Sporting to United in similar circumstances, with Arsenal having tracked him during his days in Lisbon.

Mendes added: "Nani was also followed by Tottenham and Arsenal, but as I say, who sleeps in business loses."

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