Arsenal failed to sign Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Manchester United because they didn’t have the money, according to former Gunners scout Damien Comolli.
United signed Ronaldo as an 18-year-old in a £12.2 million deal from Sporting in 2003.
Sir Alex Ferguson has previously revealed that United’s players urged him to sign the Portugal star after impressing in a pre-season friendly.
But Comolli, who worked under Arsene Wenger as Arsenal’s scout in Europe, claims the Real Madrid forward had already visited the Gunners’ training ground on two
occasions before United made their move
‘The first time I saw Ronaldo, it was at the Montaigu tournament, he was 15. He played against Japan before and I thought: ‘Who the hell is this?’’ Comolli told SFR Sport.
‘At half-time, I called my contact in Portugal to which I said that I had seen a phenomenon.
‘Since Thierry Henry, I’ve never seen that.
‘He came twice to the training ground. Nobody knows that. He met Thierry [Henry], who was his idol.
‘But when it came to making the transfer, there was no money.
‘Months later, Manchester United made a partnership with Sporting, they played a friendly match in Lisbon. He slaughtered them and Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘He must go