Cristiano Ronaldo: When Arsene Wenger Named His Biggest Transfer Regret

Cristiano Ronaldo: When Arsene Wenger Named His Biggest Transfer Regret

Elijah Odetokun
February 25, 2024 at 8:33 AM
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  • Arsene Wenger was reputable for his eye for spotting talents early
  • The former Arsenal boss identified most football top stars' first
  • The FIFA chief disclosed his biggest transfer regret at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger was famous for spotting talents first for other clubs to sign during his time at Arsenal but he admitted regret over one because they were so close.

Wenger managed Arsenal for 22 years before leaving his role in 2018. Since he has unofficially retired, he has yet to take up another coaching role.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrick Vieira, Arsenal, Manchester United, Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo in action during his first game against Arsene Wenger's Arsenal. Photo by Matthew Peters.
Source: Getty Images

He is FIFA’s Chief Football Development, a role he assumed in November 2019. He has been overseeing the growth and development of the sport worldwide and has been featured at the football governing body events.

Wenger admits Ronaldo transfer regrets

The legendary manager had many top talents under his radar before they became big stars – Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eden Hazard, and others- but signed none.

Speaking to Arsenal's official website in his farewell, he admitted missing out on Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United was his biggest transfer regret.

“The obvious player [that we missed out on] that comes to mind is [Cristiano] Ronaldo. He was here with his mother, and we were very close,” he said.

He claimed there were things the Gunners could have done better, and moving a bit earlier before Ronaldo played well against Manchester United could have helped.

“There is always something you could have done differently, but the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don’t give in. Once we were at £4.5 million, we were still in negotiations… but Man United went to £12 million, which we could not afford at the time,” he added.

The Portuguese spent six years at Old Trafford before moving to Real Madrid for a world-record fee of £80 million in 2009, where he became one of the biggest names in football.

Per Transfermarkt, he played 18 times against the North London club and scored nine goals.

Solskjaer admits regret over Ronaldo

Sports Brief reported on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitting regrets over Ronaldo’s career at Manchester United ended after his departure.

The United legend brought him back for a second spell, but after an explosive interview, his contract was mutually terminated, an ending not fitting his status at the club.

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Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.