Monday, January 30, 2023

How ‘SMART’ Ferguson outplayed Liverpool to land Cristiano at Old Trafford.

Liverpool thought that they had already nailed it. They were convinced that their deal to signing Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003 was a done deal. However, they were unaware of what Sir Alex Ferguson was cooking behind them.

It came as a shocker. Liverpool bosses at that time Gerard Houllier and Phil Thompson explained how they “almost choked” on dinner when their target  Cristiano Ronaldo signed d for Manchester United at the expense of Liverpool.

Liverpool were certain that they had already convinced the young Ronaldo to sign for their side in a deal that was worth £4million back in 2003.

Reflecting on what transpired, Thompson remembers going out for a dinner in Lisbon with football agent Tony Henry. The two were involved in detailed and finer details of a transfer that would never happen.



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Speaking to  The Athletic, Thompson said:

“I can still remember Tony’s exact words.

“It was all very nice and relaxed. It’s £4million and it can be paid over the four years of his contract, so £1million a year. That seemed very reasonable.

“Then I asked about the salary and Tony told me it was £1 million a year, net.”

What Liverpool did not know is that Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson was also working hard behind the scene to land Cristiano to Old Trafford. Ferguson caught Liverpool off-guard to snatch the Portuguese winger off their noses. Ronaldo snubbed Liverpool to join Ferguson’s Manchester United.

Thompson said:

“On a Tuesday morning, we were having lunch at the training ground and it came up on the yellow strap on Sky Sports, ‘ Manchester United have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.2million.’

“Gerard and myself almost choked on our food. I can remember Gerard jumping up and saying, ‘What the hell has gone on there?'”


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