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WHAT IF?

Cristiano Ronaldo explains why he joined Man United instead of Juventus in 2003

The Portuguese superstar had a choice between England and Italy back in the old days

Remember when a little-known Portuguese youngster called Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Manchester United and everything changed?

Back in August 2003, Ronaldo came to the attention of then-United manager Alex Ferguson when Portugal giants Sporting defeated the Red Devils 3–1 at the inauguration of the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Before it all

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Before it all

His awesome performance in that game did enough to impress a number of United players and staff – with Ferguson describing the 18-year-old as “one of the most exciting young players” he had ever seen.

He duly signed him soon after.

That shirt, my eyes….

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That shirt, my eyes….

But it all could’ve been so different.


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At the time, many clubs across Europe showed an interest in Ronaldo – but United was the club he chose, of course.

One side who were particularly keen on snapping up Ronny was Juventus.

Two legends

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Two legends

And in an interview with Juve legend Alessandro Del Piero for the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, the Real Madrid superstar explained once and for all why he joined United back in 2003, rather than the Serie A outfit.

He said: “Many clubs were interested in me

“But the key man as always was Jorge Mendes.”

Ronaldo says ‘superagent’ Jorge Mendes was a big influence

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Ronaldo says ‘superagent’ Jorge Mendes was a big influence

“He also talked about Real Madrid, Manchester United and many others.

“But the club that offered me the best conditions were United.


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“It was a dream because as a kid I always wanted to play in the Premier League.

“United gave me this opportunity and for that I have to thank Sir Alex Ferguson and obviously Jorge helped me to arrive there.”

Not bad, eh?

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Not bad, eh?

You gotta say, it all worked out pretty well for him.

Since his move to United and then Madrid, Ronaldo has won multiple honours, including titles, cup trophies and four Champions League medals.

Oh, and he also has five Ballons d’Or titles to his name.