Gerard Houllier reveals why Liverpool passed on Cristiano Ronaldo before Manchester United move

The Reds opted to sign Harry Kewell from Leeds instead

Jack Austin@jackaustin_1
Monday 16 October 2017 11:48
Ronaldo scored twice against Liverpool in career
Ronaldo scored twice against Liverpool in career

Former Liverpool FC manager Gerard Houllier has revealed the club were forced to pass on Cristiano Ronaldo because of their strict wage structure.

The Reds were amongst a host of clubs chasing Ronaldo back in 2003 when he was at Sporting Lisbon along with Arsenal and his eventual destination Manchester United.

The £12.75m fee which he eventually joined United for was not the issue but Houllier was unable to offer the then 18-year-old the wages he wanted to come to Anfield.

“I saw him in the Toulon Under-21 tournament and we went for him,” admitted Houllier.

“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’.

Ronaldo eventually joined Manchester United for £12.75m

“But I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room.”

With Ronaldo’s wages not fitting into the Liverpool wage structure, Houllier instead opted for Harry Kewell in a £5m deal from Leeds.

“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,” he added.

“After that, he never had the same confidence, the same appetite.”

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