The Real Madrid ace went on to sign for Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson watched him in action for Sporting Lisbon
GERARD HOULLIER has revealed that his pursuit for Cristiano Ronaldo collapsed because of the club’s wage structure.
Liverpool indicated their interest in the winger, but they were unwilling to meet the 18-year-old’s wage demands.
Ronaldo shot to prominence in 2003 after establishing himself as one of the most talented teenagers in Europe with Sporting Lisbon.
Houllier, who managed Liverpool between 1998 and 2004, has claimed that he scouted the youngster before Sir Alex Ferguson and was determined to secure his services.
The former Merseyside chief said: “I saw him in the Toulon Under-21 tournament and we went for him.
“But we had a wage scale and we weren’t paying the sort of salary he wanted.
“Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘You have to sign him’.
“But I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room.
“Maybe we would have won the title with Ronaldo, but we had Harry Kewell, who was outstanding at the time and was very hungry but got a bad injury.
“After that, he never had the same confidence, the same appetite.”
Ronaldo opted against a switch to Anfield and joined Premier League giants Manchester United for a fee of £12.24m.
The transfer, at the time, made him the most expensive teenager in English football history.
Since then, he has bagged four Ballon d’Or trophies, won 24 trophies and scored over 600 goals.
Following his sublime spell at Old Trafford, he completed a move to Real Madrid ahead of the 2009/10 season for a fee of £80m.