Sacchi: Ronaldo knew I wanted him at Parma

The iconic trainer has revealed that, on a recent trip to Madrid, the Ballon d’Or holder admitted he was aware of the Italian club’s interest when he was at Sporting

Legendary Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi has revealed he wanted to sign “champion” Cristiano Ronaldo during his stint with Parma in 2001.

The current world player of the year, who is hoping to retain his Ballon d’Or crown in January following a remarkable start to the season in which he has scored 32 goals in just 23 games, left Sporting in his native Portugal to join Manchester United in 2003.

But his career trajectory would have been very different had Sacchi had his wish.

“[On a recent trip to Real Madrid]” before training Carlo [Ancelotti] introduced me to all the players. Ronaldo was in the gym… he is a model professional,” Sacchi told La Gazzetta Dello Sport.

“When [Ronaldo] saw me he greeted me cordially, stepped off his exercise bike and told me: ‘I know that your Parma wanted to buy me when I was at Sporting, but unfortunately for you Manchester offered more’.

“Cristiano has a great relationship with his team-mates and with Carlo in particular. He is well-educated and most of all, modest.”

Ronaldo has hit a Liga record 23 hat-tricks since arriving in Madrid in 2009.

He leads the current scoring charts in Spain’s top flight this season with 25 goals – 12 more than second-placed Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid sit five points clear at the top of La Liga after Friday’s win over Almeria and have recorded 20 wins in a row in all competitions, four away from the world record set by Brazilian side Curitiba.

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