Cristiano Ronaldo chose Manchester United over Birmingham in 2003

Former Birmingham City co-owner David Sullivan claims they were offered Cristiano Ronaldo before he agreed Manchester United move.

In the summer of 2003, Manchester United took a calculated risk on a relatively unproven Portuguese youngster.

They invested over £12 million in his potential, and would go on to sell him six years later for £80 million.

The man in question is, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.

As a bright-eyed youngster with a questionable haircut and a few too many stepovers in his locker, Ronaldo could never have imagined that he would become the global superstar he is today.

United would also have been unaware of how quickly his career would take off in the Premier League and catapult him towards a big-money switch to La Liga giants Real Madrid and multiple World Player of the Year awards.

Things could have been markedly different for Ronaldo, though, had he taken a different career path 11 years ago.

It has been revealed that prior to agreeing a move to Old Trafford, Sporting Lisbon offered a graduate of their famed academy system to Birmingham City for just £6 million.

Former City co-owner David Sullivan told Sky Sports’ Soccer AM: "Before he went to Man United, we were offered him for £6m, and he chose United ahead of us.

"There was a deal to be done. When he first went to United there were lots of doubts about him. He wasn't the star that he is now."

Ronaldo’s ability was unlocked by United and he has gone on to become a record-breaker at Real.

His goal scoring record is simply breathtaking and he is the red-hot favourite to retain his Ballon d’Or prize in the New Year.

He is now a figure that transcends his chosen profession, with CR7 the brand making him more than just a famous footballer.

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