Former Manchester United and current Real Madrid hero Ronaldo was close to signing for Wenger.
In a Cristiano Ronaldo documentary due to be aired on ITV4 on Tuesday evening, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed how close he came to luring the Portuguese hotshot to North London and why he ended up missing out on the prolific goal-scorer.
'He was very close to coming here,' Wenger proclaimed. 'He [Cristiano] has a number nine shirt with Ronaldo on the back from Arsenal Football Club.'
Keen on the then-teenager at Sporting Lisbon, Wenger had the player scouted numerous times over ten years ago and personal terms on a contract could have been finalised had it not been for Carlos Queiroz joining Sir Alex Ferguson's coaching staff as an assistant manager in 2002.
'What happened was that Queiroz went to 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.'
Ronaldo became one of the most feared forwards in the Premier League during his six-year spell and 118 goal devastation in all competitions, however, he has become an even more complete goal-scorer at Real Madrid by returning 210 goals in 207 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos.
Wenger remarked that the 28-year-old is now a forward with 'total efficiency' and a 'complete athlete' whose partnership with Gareth Bale promises to be 'exciting'.
image: © Jan Solo