Sir Alex reveals failed work permit stopped Manchester United signing Ronaldo in 1994

by Sam Peoples

When Ronaldo tore Manchester United apart with one of the best hat-tricks Old Trafford had ever seen in 2003, fans sat in the stands with their jaws on the floor.

His standing ovation from everyone inside Old Trafford when he was substituted summed up just how good he was on the day but it could have all worked out very different.

Ronaldo joined PSV Eindhoven in 1994 from Brazilian side Cruzeiro yet it could have been Old Trafford where he moved to had Man United managed to sort out a work permit for his transfer.

Writing in his latest book ‘Leading’, Sir Alex explained: “We wanted to sign the Brazilian striker from Cruzeiro in 1994, but we could not get a work permit.”


Imagine that – had Sir Alex managed to sign Ronaldo, he would have partnered Eric Cantona up front. What a truly unbelievable partnership that would have been, even the thought of it is mesmerising but it wasn’t to be.

There’s plenty of players who United have missed out on over the years but very few come close to the quality of Ronaldo.

Something we’d like to know is how PSV were able to sort a work permit out but United weren’t? If you know the answer, please let us know in the comments.


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