Alessandro Moggi has revealed in an interview that Juventus came within a whisker of signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon when the Portuguese was 18 years old.
According to the Italian agent, who was speaking to Tuttosport, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes got in touch asking for assistance in finding a Serie A club for the precocious forward to move to. “In 2003, Mendes was looking to engineer a move for his first great player: Cristiano Ronaldo. He was a kid of 18 who had just made his debut for Sporting and Mendes wanted him to move to Italy. We tried to help them out and offered him to Parma and Lazio but he was rejected by both. He was obviously talented but he was too young for them and they were not convinced. Juventus on the other hand said yes and sent us to Lisbon with Mendes to tie up the deal with Sporting.”
Manchester United stole a march on Juventus
Moggi went on to say that once they arrived in the Portuguese capital they found they were not alone and in another hotel at the same time Jason Ferguson, a son of then-Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, had tabled a bid of 12 million euros. “In a matter of half a day, he became a Manchester United player,” Moggi stated.
“It was a deal that could have changed the history of European football. I thought about it a million times during the days I was in Lisbon. Seeing his attitude and how he handled himself I think he could still have been a Juventus player today,” Moggi said.