Manchester United almost missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo transfer to Juventus

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Cristiano Ronaldo was close to joining Juventus before Manchester United swooped to steal the deal.

That's according to former Juventus chief Franco Ceravolo, who claims that the Italian giants had a contract in place with the Portuguese superstar, only for the move to fall apart at the last minute and allowing the Red Devils to swoop.

Ronaldo joined Manchester United in 2003 for around £12 million, going on to help the club win three Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the Champions League. He left in 2009 to join Real Madrid for what was then a world record £80 million transfer fee.


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The former Sporting Lisbon player is the current world player of the year and was set along the path to greatness following his move to Manchester United, but it could have all been very different. 

According to Ceravolo Juventus were short of cash to complete the Ronaldo deal so included Chile forward Marcelo Salas to make up the numbers. Both parties had agreed to the deal and Salas was willing to head to Lisbon - only to have a change of heart at the last minute and leave Juventus hanging. 

"I wanted to take Cristiano Ronaldo for Juve, we were close to doing a deal," he explained. "It was all done but Salas refused the transfer to Sporting Lisbon."

His claims are backed up by another former Juve director Luciano Moggi, who revealed in 2013 that Salas 'backed out' of the move and eventually returned to South America to play for River Plate.


"That's when Manchester United intervened," he continued. "They were offering millions and we had no money to compete, so I had to cancel the contract. Cristiano Ronaldo could have joined Juventus when he was 18."

Plenty of other clubs have claimed to have been close to signing Ronaldo before he joined Manchester United. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has previously claimed that the Real Madrid ace was even given the number nine shirt after a week-long trial with the Gunners, only to have his head turned by Sir Alex Ferguson.


In terms of sheer statistics, Cristiano Ronaldo is Manchester United's greatest ever transfer. Although players like Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney and Peter Schmeichel were all integral to helping Ferguson build the club into what they are now, no player has made them as much money and had such a lasting impact as the 30-year-old.

He won the Ballon d'Or at Old Trafford, was key to only their third ever European Cup win, and is now considered one of the greatest of all time thanks to his time in Manchester. He sits only behind Dennis Law in the single-season goal record for Manchester United too. All in all it's a pretty impressive legacy for a scrawny kid from Portugal to leave behind.

Which transfer do you think is the greatest in Manchester United's history?

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Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
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