New Delhi: It is emerged that Arsenal missed on signing Cristiano Ronaldo in 2002 due to financial constraints, according to the agent Jorge Mendes' new autobiography.
“There was a moment in which I really thought he was going to Arsenal. David Dein is a spectacular person but, with the construction of their stadium, they were left with very little money and it wasn’t possible," Mendes was quoted in an extract from the book by the Daily Telegraph.
Despite giving a trial at Arsenal, Sporting Lisbon stopped the move as they considered Gunners' bid too small for the then 17-year-old rising star. A year later, Ronaldo joined Arsenal's league rivals Manchester United for a £12.25m deal.
Ronaldo, who won his third World Player of the Year title recently recalls the events that unfolded during his visit to Arsenal as a teenager.
“We were travelling by car and Jorge was calling us constantly telling me to hide so no one would see me. We went to a service station and I had to hide my face. I remember back then that Jorge was going crazy, those were Jorge’s craziest days,” Ronaldo said in an interview for his agent's book.
Arsenal fought with limited funds, which was often epitomized by Arsene Wenger's shrewd transfer activities, to move to a new stadium in Hornsey Road from Highbury. During the relocation period, Gunners missed opportunities to sign numerous players who went on to become global stars.