Everton opted against signing Cristiano Ronaldo for a steal, in 2002 3 months ago

Everton opted against signing Cristiano Ronaldo for a steal, in 2002

What could have been...

Everton decided against signing a 17-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo for £2m in 2002 as they preferred to focus on developing the talent of their very own star man, Wayne Rooney.

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In a new book titled: 'Messi vs Ronaldo', David Moyes' side were one of many European sides who were given the opportunity to sign the future five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Ronaldo would stay at Sporting Lisbon for one more season before joining Manchester United a year later where he would develop into one of the greatest footballers of all time.

The book claims that Everton were offered the chance to buy the Portugal international for a minuscule fee of £2m but the Toffees wanted to put their time and focus into Rooney.

Despite only being 16 at the time, Rooney had been promoted to the senior team where he would feature 36 times, scoring eight goals and assisting one.

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Wayne Rooney of Everton celebrates scoring against Blackburn Rovers in 2002. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

'One of the most feared attacking Premier League forces'

Ronaldo meanwhile fared marginally better with a tally of five goals and six assists in 31 games but the pair soon found themselves playing together as Rooney arrived at Old Trafford in 2004 for a fee of £33.3m.

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As a pair, the two became one of the most feared attacking Premier League forces and were extremely successful together, winning the Champions League in 2008 alongside three consecutive top-flight titles.

Everton weren't the only club who turned down the chance. The likes of Newcastle United, Arsenal, Juventus, Parma and Lyon also opted not to make a move for the forward.

Ronaldo kept his place in the Manchester United starting XI against West Ham, on Sunday afternoon.

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