The reason Cristiano Ronaldo's 2002 move to Juventus collapsed

  • Kat Lucas
Real Madrid CF v Real Sociedad de Futbol - La Liga

The story of Manchester United signing Cristiano Ronaldo will go down in football folklore.

It was undoubtedly one of Sir Alex Ferguson's finest moments when he spotted the teenager in a friendly between the Red Devils and the Portuguese's club at the time, Sporting Lisbon.

Ronaldo made such an impact on that day that it effectively sealed his move to Old Trafford, and the rest, as they say, is history.

A player of CR7's talent was never going to go unnoticed, though, and if United hadn't got there first, it's almost certain he'd still have been snapped up by a top club.

It seems a lot of big clubs will look back at Ronaldo as a 'what if?' moment.

Juventus may well be feeling that regret after it emerged that they could have signed the superstar way back in 2002 - only for the deal to be scuppered by one of their own players.

The Bianconeri's former sporting director Gianni Di Marzio has told Marca that he went to see Lisbon play in the hope of tracking Ricardo Quaresma - but as he didn't actually feature, it was his young compatriot he caught the eye instead.

Juve made contact 

"I called my club and told them I'd seen someone who would be the best player in the world, obviously after Maradona," Di Marzio said.

Explaining why then, the Ballon d'Or holder never made the switch to the Old Lady, he placed the blame firmly at the feet of one man - former Juve striker Marcelo Salas, who was supposed to be part of a swap deal.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal

"I negotiated and brought Cristiano over to Turin in 2002 to sign for Juve, but Salas didn't accept the terms of the swap," he added.

"For just a few million euros, Salas didn't want to leave and so Juventus lost out on Cristiano Ronaldo."

It sounds like the Chilean might not want to set foot in Turin again for a while if that's true.

While Juve have boasted their fair share of big names over the last fifteen years - Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, and Gianluigi Buffon, to name but a few - their fans must be frustrated to hear that they missed out on a player of Ronaldo's class.

Would Ronaldo be the same player if he'd joined Juve? Have your say in the comments. 

News Now - Sport News