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Arsene Wenger: We came close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Arsene Wenger says that Arsenal came close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Arsene Wenger says that Arsenal came close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi could have ended up playing together at Arsenal had things worked out differently.

Arsene Wenger, whose 22-year managerial reign came to a close at the end of the season, has revealed how he tried to sign both superstars for the Gunners.

Instead Ronaldo went to Manchester United before going on to Real Madrid, while Wenger was unable to prise Messi from Barcelona.

The Frenchman told Arsenal.com: "The obvious player [Arsenal missed out on] that comes to mind is Ronaldo.

"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.


Cristiano Ronaldo to sign for before 3rd September (odds via Sky Bet)

  • Chelsea - 8/1
  • Manchester Utd - 12/1
  • PSG - 12/1
  • Manchester City - 33/1
  • To Stay at Real Madrid (Does not include returning on loan following a permanent deal elsewhere) - 1/10
  • To Leave Real Madrid - 11/2

"There is always something you could have done differently, but the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don't give in.

"Once we were at £4.5million, 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 £12million, which we could not afford at the time.

"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."


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Odds correct at 1200 BST (17/05/18)

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Most Read Football

Mesut Ozil celebrates1

Perfect 10 for Ozil and Arsenal

A sublime display from captain Mesut Ozil inspired Arsenal as they came from behind to beat Leicester and extend their winning run to 10 games.

Our tips for Tuesday night's Champions League action2

Tuesday's Champions League tips

The Champions League continues on Tuesday night with both Manchester clubs in action. We have four best bets.

The latest Sporting Life Accumulator3

Sporting Life Accumulator

Midweek Sky Bet EFL action means we have another Sporting Life Accumulator to back, which is enhanced to 16/1 by the EFL title sponsors.

Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action4

Sky Bet EFL betting preview

Midweek Sky Bet EFL action returns across the three divisions and we've found value in goalscorers on Tuesday night.

Check out today's Paper Talk5

Monday's Paper Talk

Two leading managers fighting for their jobs and German giants target three English wonderkids - all in today's newspapers.

Football Tips

Our tips for Tuesday night's Champions League action

Tuesday's Champions League tips

The Champions League continues on Tuesday night with both Manchester clubs in action. We have four best bets.

Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action

Sky Bet EFL betting preview

Midweek Sky Bet EFL action returns across the three divisions and we've found value in goalscorers on Tuesday night.

The latest Sporting Life Accumulator

Sporting Life Accumulator

Midweek Sky Bet EFL action means we have another Sporting Life Accumulator to back, which is enhanced to 16/1 by the EFL title sponsors.