The latest Cristiano Ronaldo transfer talk would remind anyone to chase potential assets before it’s too late…
Cristiano Ronaldo became a hot cake for top clubs shortly after signing a professional contract with Sporting CP’s senior team. Roberto Mancini, however, never had a slice of it.
In 2002, the current Italy boss was managing Italian Serie A side Lazio. Impressed by the quick feet of a teenage Ronaldo, Mancini aimed to convert the Portuguese into a Biancocelesti.
Ex-goalkeeper Fernando Orsi was Mancini’s assistant coach back then. He revealed to newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday:
“We were struck by Ronaldo and his teammate Quaresma. Roberto had seen these two jewels, he talked with me and went to [Lazio president] Cragnotti.”
Unfortunately for the Rome-based outfit, quality has a price but cheap things tend to end up being more expensive. Orsi continued:
“I do not remember all the details [of the potential transfer for Cristiano Ronaldo], but the main problem was the cost and nothing was done.”
Eventually, one man was prepared to match Ronaldo’s skill with the tag of “the most expensive teenager” back then. That man was Sir Alex Ferguson. Floored by the Madeira-born star’s epic display in a 3-1 friendly match loss to Sporting CP, the former Manchester United manager did not waste time to put £12.24 million on the table and drive the young lad to Old Trafford. The rest is history.
In the meantime, Roberto Mancini never stopped being one of CR7’s biggest admirers. Last summer, following the five-time UEFA Champions League winner’s stunning transfer from the Santiago Bernabeu to the Allianz Stadium, Mancini shared his approval to the press.
“It’s great for Juve and the league. You always learn from champions and our young players, who are already around the Nazionale, can only improve by having the chance to face him.”
In November last year, the Azzurri boss avowed he was “very sorry” that Cristiano had to miss Portugal’s UEFA Nations League clash against Italy. He went on to laud the Portugal captain’s impact for his nation.
“It’s clear that Cristiano Ronaldo would be decisive for any team. He is the best player in the world and therefore you cannot say Portugal are the same team without him.”
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old athlete is currently preparing to face Mancini’s ex-club, Lazio, on Matchday 21 of the Serie A. This is how both teams are ranked on the table. (For the full table, see our Juventus Serie A table standings page.)