The Ballon d’Or holder was close to joining the Serie A champions at just 17 years old, but the deal fell through as Marcelo Diaz refused to leave
Cristiano Ronaldo’s big breakthrough at the top level of European football could have come at Juventus instead of Manchester United had a move not been derailed by a player who made just nine Serie A starts for the Italians.
The Portugal international joined the Red Devils from Sporting in 2003 and spent six years at Old Trafford before going on to join Real Madrid for a then-world record fee of €94 million.
His story could have been much different, though, as Juve had the chance to sign him as a 17-year-old, before he ended up in England. However, it was the actions of Marcelo Salas, a bit part player in Turin, that saw the deal fall through, according to Gianni Di Marzio, who helped the club sign players from abroad at the time.
“When I was working for Juventus, I called Turin and said he was going to be the best player in the world, obviously behind Diego Maradona,” he told EFE.
“I negotiated and brought Cristiano to Turin in 2002 to sign for Juventus. But [Marcelo] Salas did not accept the swap deal. For a few million euros, Salas did not want to go and he later ended up at River Plate.
“That is how Juventus lost Cristiano Ronaldo. [His agent Jorge Mendes] knows this story very well.”
Now a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldo is regarded as one of the best players the world has ever seen.
He went on to win three Premier League titles and the Champions League under Sir Alex Ferguson, adding two more European crowns to his name at Madrid and two Club World Cups.
He also helped fire Portugal to Euro 2016 glory last summer – their first international trophy.
The 32-year-old is currently tied to the Spanish capital club until 2021 and has scored 21 goals in 26 games in all competitions for a side sitting one point clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with two games in hand.
EPL: Fulham boss thumbs up Bassey’s display against Nottingham Forest
Fulham manager, Marco Silva has showered encomium on Calvin Bassey following his impressive performance in the club’s big win against Nottingham Forest.
The Nigeria international was deployed on the left side of a back three in the 5-0 thrashing of Steve Cooper’s side at the Vicarage Road on Wednesday night.
Bassey received rave reviews for his display in the game.
Silva praised the defender for adapting to the new position.
“Bassey played on the left-hand side, which is usually Tim’s role, and it was nice to see him perform as well, ” the gaffer said after the game.
The 23-year-old’s international teammate Alex Iwobi scored a brace for Fulham in the encounter.
Bassey joined Fulham from Eredivisie outfit Ajax in the summer.
He reminds me of Lampard – Evra hails Man Utd midfielder
Former Manchester United vice-captain, Patrice Evra has hailed midfielder Scott McTominay for his impressive display against Chelsea on Wednesday.
Evra said that McTominay reminds him of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, adding that the Scotland international always performs in big matches.
McTominay scored a brace as Man United defeated Chelsea 2-1 in Wednesday’s Premier League tie at Old Trafford.
His brace against Mauricio Pochettino’s side was his sixth goal this season in all competitions for the Red Devils so far.
He is Man United’s top scorer for the season so far and Evra is impressed with him.
“McTominay is always there when it is an important game scoring goals,” Evra told Amazon Prime.
“He reminds me a bit of Frank Lampard. He is doing this for United and the Scottish national team so very well done.
“He could have scored four. After the game he was a little bit disappointed. He had so many chances, he is always in the right place and always running into the box, this is why he reminds me of of Lampard tonight.”
CAF Awards 2023: Nnadozie, Abiodun, Super Falcons among final top three nominees
Chiamaka Nnadozie has made the final shortlist for the 2023 CAF Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year.
Nnadozie was outstanding for Nigeria at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The shot stopper also played a crucial role in her club, FC Paris’ maiden appearance in the group stage of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
South Africa’s Andile Dlamini and Morocco’s Khadija Er-Rmichi are the other goalies nominated for the award.
In the Women’s Young Player of the Year category, Deborah Abiodun will slug it out with Comfort Yeboah (Ghana) and Nesryne El Chad (Morocco).
Nigeria was among the final three nominees in the Women’s National Team of the Year category.
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