Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo

Arsenal tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo before he joined Manchester United in 2003

After 22 years in charge of Arsenal, Wenger is leaving the club and will take time to decide what to do next before jumping back into the game.

Under Wenger’s tutelage, the Gunners won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups during his long reign.

While the Frenchman was very successful in the first half of his spell in charge of identifying top talent in signing the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Marc Overmars, a number of players slipped through his grasp.

Wenger has discussed in the past how he failed to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi to name but a few.

However, Ronaldo remains the biggest regret, as he missed out on a deal before he joined Manchester United in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger wishes he could have signed Cristiano Ronaldo

The obvious player [that we missed out on] that comes to mind is Cristiano Ronaldo

Arsene Wenger

“The obvious player [that we missed out on] that comes to mind is Cristiano Ronaldo,” Wenger told the club’s website.

“He was here with his mother and we were very close.

“Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach. United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.

“You could imagine at the time what it would have been like to have Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together.

“Later Man United had Rooney, Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy together, they had an exceptional football team, and Giggs and Scholes together.

“That would certainly have changed a little bit the history of my stay here as well.”

Wenger went on to reveal how United clinched a deal, adding: “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 £4.5million, we were still in negotiations. David met with [Ronaldo’s agent Jorge] Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting, so we were very close.

“But Man United went to £12m, which we could not afford at the time.”

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