Wenger admits Arsenal were just "few days" too slow to sign Cristiano Ronaldo

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Arsene Wenger has revealed he Arsenal missed out on signing Cristiano Ronaldo by just "a few days" before the Portuguese sensation was snapped up by Manchester United.

Ronaldo originally signed for United back in 2003 and although he had impressed across Europe as a teenager, he was still a relatively unknown quantity.

However, after being trusted with the no.7 shirt by Sir Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo soon became a star and won the Ballon d'Or at United just five years later before moving on to Real Madrid in 2009.

It was a bitter blow for Wenger and Arsenal, and the legendary Gunners boss has revealed just how close they were to signing the star from Sporting Lisbon.

In a Q&A with SPORTbible hosted by Wenger's former striker Ian Wright, the Frenchman was asked who he regretted not signing while at Arsenal and this was me with an instant reply.

Wenger said: "Cristiano Ronaldo. I think it was possible, and if we had been a fraction quicker, a few days because we had agreed and Manchester United came in five or six days later."

Ronaldo may have already verbally agreed to sign for Arsenal, but United faced Sporting in a pre-season friendly ahead of the 2003/04 season, and Ferguson was reportedly that impressed with the Portuguese star's performance that he wouldn't leave until the club signed him.

Have Your Say! Would Arsenal have dominated the Premier League with Cristiano Ronaldo? Let us know in the comments section

Ferguson got his wish as United completed a deal worth £12.25m, and although Arsenal completed their famous invincible season that year without him, failing to sign Ronaldo certainly hurt them in the long run.

Ronaldo went on to win five Ballon d'Or's throughout his career and has re-signed for United after 12-years away to wrap-up a fantastic career at the place where he transformed into the complete player.

The now 36-year-old has nine goals in 12 appearances across all competitions for United this season, and has almost single-handedly kept their Champions League hopes alive with two late winners and even a last-minute equaliser.

  • Arsene Wenger
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Arsenal FC
  • Manchester United FC

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