Gunners boss claims Ronaldo was given a squad number at Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo was so close to joining Arsenal he was handed the no.9 shirt.
The Gunners boss has previously admitted the Portuguese sensation spent a week on trial in North London aged 18 but never revealed how close the forward came to being an Arsenal player.
Ronaldo, now 28 and at Real Madrid, was given the no.9 shirt at Arsenal before a change in Manchester United’s assistant manager led to the Portugal star moving from Sporting Lisbon to Old Trafford.
“He was very close to coming here. He has a number nine shirt with Ronaldo on the back from Arsenal Football Club,” Wenger said in an ITV4 documentary about Ronaldo.
“What happened was that Carlos Queiroz went to Manchester United and they snapped him away from us because he knew him from Sporting.
“That’s what life is about. You give your best but sometimes you might find that people are stronger than you. That can happen as well.”
Wenger also says Ronaldo, who cost Real £80m in 2009, is the complete player ahead of Real Madrid’s new world record signing Gareth Bale and is different to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
“He (Ronaldo) is a complete athlete with total efficiency and Messi is an artist who does things nobody else can do,” Wenger added.
“Bale still has a way to go if you compare what Ronaldo has done and what Bale has done. Bale has still a way to make it but the vision of having the two together is very exciting.”