Arrigo Sacchi has disclosed that he tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo when the Real Madrid striker was still a teenager with Sporting Lisbon.
The Italian tactician, who numbers Parma, Milan, Atletico Madrid and Italy among his former employers, was Coach at Parma when he first contacted Sporting about the winger in 2001.
However, the Portuguese outfit realised the value of the prodigious talent they had on their hands and informed him they would not be selling for the kind of money being offered.
Speaking on a recent trip to Madrid’s Valdebebas training complex, where he observed his friend Carlo Ancelotti’s training methods, the 68-year-old recalled the time he made his bid for arguably the world’s best player.
“When Cristiano saw me he greeted me cordially, stepped off his exercise bike and told me: ‘I know that your Parma wanted to buy me when I was at Sporting, but unfortunately for you Manchester offered more’.
“Cristiano has a great relationship with his teammates and with Carlo in particular. He is well-educated and most of all, modest,” declared Sacchi.