Arsenal came close to completing a £12 million deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, only for Manchester United to hijack the proposed transfer.
The Portuguese superstar will go down as one of the Red Devils' greatest ever servants, and is now regarded by many as the best player in the world having propelled himself to stardom at Real Madrid.
However, according to the Daily Star, Ronaldo's career almost took an entirely different route as Gunners boss Arsene Wenger came within a whisker of sealing the 29-year-old's signature.
The one that got away...
The Manchester United favourite - who left Old Trafford in a reported £80 million deal in 2009 - could've turned out to be one of Wenger's most successful signings during his 19-year tenure in charge in north London.
But instead he played an instrumental role for Arsenal's Premier League rivals, winning three domestic titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, the European Cup and a Club World Cup during six trophy-laden years under Sir Alex Ferguson.
And it was thanks to Ferguson's direct approach to Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes that helped secure his services from under the noses of the Gunners.
Fast forward 11 years and Ronaldo is currently in Brazil preparing for Portugal's World Cup clash versus the United States this evening, and will be looking to make up for the disappointing 4-0 defeat suffered against Germany in their opening game in Group G.
With 112 international caps and 49 goals already to his name his importance to Paulo Bento's side is undeniable, and though the skipper knows it will be difficult to now progress to the knockout stages of the competition Ronaldo is determined to give it his all.
Ronaldo's World Cup hopes
"In my opinion we have the strongest group at the World Cup, so we are taking one step at a time," he reflected. "But it is with enormous pride that I am here representing Portugal as captain.
"I continue to shiver as soon as as I hear the Portuguese national anthem being played. And to compete in the World Cup in a brother country like Brazil always appealed to me.
"Portugal and Brazil have historical connections and both countries speak the same language."
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