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Cristiano Ronaldo transfer decision saw Liverpool bosses 'almost choke' as career nearly very different

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It’s difficult to remember now, but there was a time when Cristiano Ronaldo was relatively unknown.

GO DEEPER: Cristiano Ronaldo told Piers Morgan what Liverpool already knew as irony of Manchester United claim clear

READ MORE: Luis Díaz admission shouldn't worry Liverpool as Barcelona, Luis Suárez and transfer reality clear READ MORE: What Manchester United sale stance means for Liverpool amid FSG takeover news Speaking about it to The Athletic, Thompson recalls his dealing with football agent Tony Henry and sorting the deal out.

“On the Tuesday morning, we were having lunch at the training ground and it came up on the yellow strap on Sky Sports: ' Manchester United have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.2m.'

The Portuguese legend was a hot prospect 20 years ago, but not many outside ardent admirers of Sporting Lisbon would have heard of the then-teenager.

As is now a famous story, in 2003, Liverpool, then under the management of Gerard Houllier, dispatched his number two, Phil Thompson, to Portugal to iron out a deal for Ronaldo.

I can remember Gerard jumping up and saying, 'What the hell has gone on there?'"
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