Everton SNUBBED £2m Cristiano Ronaldo transfer in 2002 to keep faith in Wayne Rooney before Man Utd pounced a year later

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EVERTON snubbed the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo for just £2million in 2002.

The Portuguese superstar hadn’t made his big breakthrough at Sporting Lisbon just yet, but a host of teams were aware of his talent.

A new book — entitled ‘Messi vs Ronaldo’ — reveals that the latter could have found himself at Goodison Park.

Ronaldo was offered to Everton for just £2m around 20 years ago.

But Everton were focused on developing another special teenager instead.

The Toffees turned down the opportunity to sign Ronaldo as they had so much faith in their own young talent Wayne Rooney.

Wazza, still just 16 that summer, would burst through during the 2002-03 season under David Moyes.

He netted six Prem goals in that campaign, before adding a further nine in 2003-04.

His prodigious talent was there for all to see… and it wouldn’t be long until he was playing with Ronaldo.

The future five-time Ballon d’Or winner moved to Man United in 2003 after slipping through the fingers of a number of other teams.

Arsenal had a teenage Ronaldo out to train in North London and the Gunners’ vice-chairman David Dein flew to Portugal to make an offer.

Newcastle United, then managed by Bobby Robson, were also sniffing around the young Portuguese winger.

There was a deal in place with Juventus in a cash-plus-player arrangement but it collapsed because Chilean striker Marcelo Salas refused to move in the opposite direction.

The same thing happened when Sporting offered their star man to Lyon in France, however Tony Vairelles refused to move to Portugal.

Italian side Parma also offered significant sums of money — to both the club, the player and his super-agent Jorge Mendes — but that never went further.

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