‘Anarchy’ the reason LFC didn’t sign Cristiano Ronaldo – Houllier & Thompson

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With many failed transfers you’re left thinking, ‘what could have been…’ but none more so than Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003.

Our manager at the time Gerard Houllier wanted the teenage Portuguese starlet, but opted for Harry Kewell instead – due to Ronaldo’s wage demands.

‘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’.

‘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,’ Houllier added. 

Phil Thompson, Houllier’s assistant at the time, claimed there’d have been a squad meltdown if we’d paid Ronaldo the wages desired considering his age.

‘We would have had anarchy if the other players had found out how much we were considering paying for an 18-year-old kid,’ the club legend began. 

‘We looked for a compromise. Ten days later I was sitting in a lounge at Anfield having some lunch and looking at the big TV screen.

‘Up came the news United had signed Ronaldo from Lisbon for £12.2m. Gerard and myself nearly choked on our food!’

Kewell went on to win a Champions League with Liverpool, but the second half of his career was sadly defined by injuries rather than brilliance.

Ronaldo has gone on to be recognised as one of the greatest players of all time, of course.

He did excellently at our bitter rivals Manchester United, but at Real Madrid, has improved tenfold.

Since moving to Spain in 2009, he’s scored 412 goals in 402 games and won the Champions League on three occasions!


More Stories Cristiano Ronaldo Gerard Houllier Harry Kewell