New Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez is only becoming acquainted with his new squad, but if things went differently he would know his star man for more than a decade.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Benitez revealed that he tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo when he was the boss of Spanish side Valencia.
Benitez was in charge at the Mestalla between 2001 and 2004, winning two La Liga titles and one UEFA Cup during an extraordinarily successful three year spell.
Before he moved to Liverpool Benitez tried to bolster his squad with one of the most exciting young attackers on the continent.
Benitez was quoted by AS speaking about his pursuit of a teenage Ronaldo: “We tried to sign him [Ronaldo] when I was at Valencia. We liked him but we could not do it.
“He was always a problem for me when he was at [Manchester] United. Now he is more complete and it is seen in his progression. He is one of the best in the world.”
Ronaldo was picked up by United in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon, going on to become one of the club’s best ever players before a world record move to Madrid in 2009.
One of the reasons for his success at Old Trafford was his close relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson. It remains to be seen how he will get on with Benitez.