Signing this player in 2003 would have rewritten the fortunes of Liverpool
Liverpool would have been transformed if they bought this player in 2003.
Yes, they had a genuine interest.
With respect to signings, there is more that goes on behind closed doors than we realise. Cristiano Ronaldo is one such player that would walk into all starting lineups. Liverpool fans and Lionel Messi fans have to agree that he is one of the best players out there.
Little did we know that Gerard Houllier almost managed to sign him for Liverpool.
Keeping everything that happened in his career constant, if Ronaldo had featured for Liverpool and not Manchester United, the period between 2003 and 2008 a lot more successful. Probably more trophies, more wins, more attractive to other players and yes, a chunk of money on his transfer to Real Madrid.
In an interview, Gerard Houllier confirmed that Liverpool had a genuine interest in the star.
On having interest
Houllier mentioned “We missed him, but there was a lot of people who can say that too. In 2002, the year I was sick we had decided to take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma.”
Imagine having them line up either side of Michael Owen with Steven Gerrard in midfield. Despite Owen leaving, I’m sure we’d have won the 2007 Champions League and pushed through a league title as well.
Signing him might have unsettled the dressing room or pushed players to perform better?
“We had been following Cristiano for a year, but it was dragging a bit because the salary level it was more demanding. Michael Owen had just won the Ballon D’Or. You couldn’t pay a 17-year old a higher salary than him.”
Houllier was right. In my humble opinion, that could have unsettled the dressing room. But on the flip side, it could have motivated players to push on, play better and demand higher wages. It could have gone either way.
Regarding the salary cap, well, most Liverpool fans are well aware of that, we’ve missed out on a bunch of players due to that policy. This policy holds true even today!
Liverpool made contact but couldn’t afford him
“His price went up from £4 million to £13 million, and we could not match that.”
Could we have rewritten history?
Well, let bygones be bygones. As a fan, you can’t dispute the fact that Ronaldo is one of the best players to have ever graced a football pitch. If Liverpool could have coughed up the money, the story could have been very different.