When Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United back in 2003, even the all-knowing Sir Alex Ferguson would have struggled to predict just how good he’d go on to be.
However the Real Madrid superstar’s time in England could well have been completely different had Liverpool acted more efficiently, according to the Daily Express. The publication has today released quotes which have surfaced from the player himself, indicating 11 years ago that he was keen to move to Anfield.
At the time the young Ronaldo was beginning to make his mark on European football as a prodigal winger with Sporting Lisbon, and the idea of him moving to Old Trafford wasn’t one that many would have taken seriously. Instead the mercurial trickster was believed to be angling for a move to Liverpool, who at the time were managed by Gerard Houllier.
Houllier confirmed years after missing out on Ronaldo that he could have indeed moved for him prior to Sir Alex backing up his interest with a formal offer, and the comments made by the player himself - albeit slightly old - most certainly substantiate this theory.
Ronaldo’s love for Liverpool
"Liverpool are one of the best clubs in England and it would be a dream for any player to represent a club of such traditions,” a 19-year-old Ronaldo said.
"I will have to hope they make an offer that is good for both Sporting and myself.
"The English league is not one of my favourites, but it is very interesting. I think my way of playing can be reconciled in the Premiership. If a player has quality then he can play anywhere.
"Let's see how things turn out. I am going to continue working as hard as ever."
The move to United
Of course history tells us that Ronaldo made good on his promise to ‘work as hard as ever’, even if it was for United rather than Liverpool. The Portugal international went on to enjoy six glittering seasons with the Red Devils, before becoming the most expensive player ever when he made his record-shattering £80 million transfer to Madrid.
Since then the forward has bagged 178 La Liga goals in 166 appearances and won the FIFA Ballon d’Or for his efforts last season.
In the eyes of the masses the La Liga star is now rivalled by only Lionel Messi when it comes to the tag of being the best player on the planet, meaning Houllier has probably spent more than just a few days pondering why he opted not to make the aforementioned move.
That being said it’s unfair to unequivocally suggest that the 29-year-old would be the same player he is today had he joined Liverpool ahead of United. Sir Alex Ferguson is credited in having had a huge hand in his development as a player, and the setup at Old Trafford enabled him to flourish where otherwise his career might have stalled.
At the very least it’s food for thought for supporters of the Reds though, who haven’t won a Premier League title since the competition’s inception. Would things have been different had Ronaldo been on their books? Liverpool fans, let us know in the comment box below...