Liverpool missed out on Ronaldo transfer amid fears of ‘dressing room unrest’


Liverpool feared signing Cristiano Ronaldo would cause issues in the Anfield dressing room.

The Premier League leaders were linked with Ronaldo in 2003 before his move from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United.

Ronaldo spoke out about the interest admitting it would be a “dream” to play for the Anfield club.

United ended up hijacking the deal with the Portuguese moving to Old Trafford for £12.2m where he ultimately shot to superstardom.

Former Liverpool assistant Phil Thompson claims he held talks with agents over a £4m deal to take Ronaldo to Anfield only for the club to miss out.

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier wasn’t overly convinced about the deal though and feared Ronaldo’s arrival would impact the club’s wage structure, and cause dressing room unrest.

Thompson told the Athletic: “He was being touted around everyone. Tony Henry, the former Man City midfielder, was working for Paul Stretford, who was tasked by Jorge Mendes to drum up interest in England.


“They were desperate to get Ronaldo out of Sporting and invited me over for a game. I was told the fee was £4 million but they explained that it could be paid over the course of a four-year contract so essentially it was £1 million per year.”

Thompson revealed he learned of the move to Old Trafford through Sky Sports News, admitting: “I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“It was astonishing that the fee trebled. He was clearly a big talent but no one could have predicted back then how great he was going to be.”

Ronaldo spent six seasons at Manchester United, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.