How Liverpool reacted to missing out on Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo is nothing short of a sensation.

One of the best players ever to play the game – let’s not get into that debate – Ronaldo is currently strutting his stuff for Juventus, and he continues to rack up goals upon goals upon goals, and trophies upon trophies upon trophies.

To go through his stats is to paint a picture of a genuine phenomenon.

Since moving to Juve, he has made 91 appearances, scoring 68 goals and registering 18 assists.

That leaves just five games in which he didn’t have a goal involvement. He has also won Serie A twice, along with the Italian Super Cup.

At Real Madrid, he won two La Liga titles, along with four Champions League trophies, and he scored 450 goals, along with registering 133 assists, in just 438 appearances.

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He made his name at Manchester United, of course, scoring 118 goals in 292 appearances, winning the Champions League there too, along with three Premier League trophies.

He has also won the Ballon d’Or five times, and the European Championship with Portugal. Nothing more needs to be said.

But it could have been so different.

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The Athletic reports that Liverpool sent a delegation of scouts to watch Porto play Sporting Lisbon, Ronaldo’s former home, and were blown away by the talent of the future icon.

Phil Thompson, then Liverpool’s assistant manager, discussed a deal with agent Tony Henry, trying to find out how much it would take to take Ronaldo to Anfield.

Thompson says a deal would have cost £4m – with payments split over four years – and his salary would have cost £1m-per-year, net.

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Liverpool wanted to compromise on wages but they felt an agreement was in place to sign him.

Thompson picks up the story, telling The Athletic: “I will never forget what happened next.

“On the Tuesday morning, we were having lunch at the training ground and it came up on the yellow strap on Sky Sports, ‘Manchester United have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.2 million’. Gerard and myself almost choked on our food. I can remember Gerard jumping up and saying,

‘What the hell has gone on there?’”

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

Imagine.

Ronaldo tore the league apart during his time at United and he could have done exactly the same at Liverpool.

But no, a deal couldn’t be agreed and it seems that United jumped in and snaffled him away from the Reds at the last minute.

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It should be said they paid a lot more than £4m, so maybe Liverpool were given something of a bum steer, but this is an alternate history that could well have changed the very landscape of English football.

Had Ronaldo joined the Reds, and exploded as he did, maybe Liverpool’s wait for a Premier League title would have ended long before 2020.

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