Liverpool almost signed Ronaldo…’but we had Harry Kewell’

Date published: Monday 16th October 2017 8:40

Liverpool turned down the opportunity to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2002 so as to not break their wage structure.

The Reds were the one-time favourites to sign Ronaldo, who had impressed for Portugal’s youth sides and for Sporting Lisbon.

The winger would join Manchester United for £12.2million in 2003, but not before Liverpool turned down the chance to sign him.

Gerard Houllier, then manager at Anfield, has defended the decision.

“I saw him in the Toulon Under 21 tournament and we went for him,” Houllier told the Liverpool Echo. “But we had a wage scale and we weren’t paying the sort of salary he wanted.

“Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘You have to sign him’.

“I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room.

“Maybe we would have won the title with Ronaldo, but we had Harry Kewell, who was outstanding at the time and was very hungry but got a bad injury.”

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