Arsene Wenger says he nearly signed Messi, Ronaldo for Arsenal

Arsene Wenger says he nearly signed Messi, Ronaldo for Arsenal

Former long-serving Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger says he could have signed both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi during his time in charge of the North Londoners.

Wenger – whose 22-year reign at Arsenal came to a close at the end of the 2017/18 season last week – revealed how he tried to sign both players for the Gunners.

The French tactician said he had entered negotiations with Ronaldo’s representatives while he was still in his home country with Sporting Lisbon, but lost out to Manchester United, who came with a much better offer.

“He was here with his mother and we were very close. Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach. United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him,” Sky Sports quotes Wenger.

“Once we were at £4.5m, we were still in negotiations. David [Dein] met with [agent Jorge] Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting, so we were very close. But Man United went to £12m, which we could not afford at the time,” he added.

Ronaldo went on to spend six seasons at Old Trafford before moving to Real Madrid, a duration in which he won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup and one Champions League trophy. He won his first Ballon d’Or while still at United.

Wenger went on to state that he registered interest in Messi and defender Gerard Pique at the time he bid for Cesc Fabregas.

“I met Cesc’s [Fabregas] parents and at the time we were interested in Messi and [Gerard] Pique as well. We tried for the three but of course, it didn’t work out…because of the agents.

“With Messi, Barcelona didn’t want to lose him of course and they made [the offer] that was needed to keep the player at the club.”

Messi and Rolando have since gone on to become the world’s best duo in the football world, both winning five Ballon d’Ors so far.

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