Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his move to Juventus and it is one that is 15 years in the making after he came close to joining them as a teenager.
This summer, the Bianconeri completed the biggest signing in their history when they splashed out in the region of €100 million to sign the Portugal international from Real Madrid.
However, had things been a little different and had Marcelo Salas not put his foot down in 2003, Ronaldo could have been at the Italian champions much sooner.
In fact, the deal was so far along and the Old Lady were so interested in signing him that the teenager, accompanied by his mother, had even passed a medial in Turin as he looked to tie up a move from Sporting CP.
Gianni Di Marzio was a scout with Juventus in 2003 and relayed the tale of how close Cristiano came to moving to Italy at that time.
“After watching him in a game against Belenenses, I spoke to the player and his mother and the next day, they were both in Turin where he underwent a medical but the deal never came together,” he explained.
“I negotiated the transfer and compiled my report on Ronaldo after scouting him but [Luciano] Moggi had a condition for the deal: that Marcelo Salas would join Sporting plus €3 million.
“The Chilean didn’t agree to that though. He didn’t want to move to Lisbon and instead he preferred to return to Argentina with River Plate and that’s why the Ronaldo to Juve move fizzled out.”
As a result of tighter funds at that time, the proposed swap was the only way that Juventus could make the Ronaldo deal happen and when Manchester United intervened, he swiftly made the move to Old Trafford.
However, all good things come to those who wait and he may have taken a circuitous route via Manchester and Madrid, but he has finally made the move to Italy and Juventus.