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18th Jul 2016

Rangers almost signed Ronaldo thanks to a ridiculous contract clause

What a signing this would have been...

Kevin Beirne

Even though they’re back in the top flight, Rangers have seen better days.

Once upon a time, the Glaswegians were the champions of Scotland and hoping to push onto the next level in pursuit of European domination. For all their domestic dominance against their Old Firm neighbours, Celtic fans could always hold their 1967 European Cup triumph over their rivals.

So in the late ’90s, having scooped up a frankly ridiculous nine Scottish titles on the trot, ‘Gers turned their attentions to Europe, knowing they would have to upgrade big time to find that elusive Champions League.

It just so happened that at the same time, one of the greatest players to have ever graced a football pitch became available – Ronaldo. No, not Cristiano Ronaldo, classic Ronaldo. Brazilian Ronaldo.

Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

According to the Brazilian’s agent, Ronaldo was seriously close to coming to Ibrox back in 1997. But why would a 21-year-old, soon-to-be Ballon d’Or winner want to come to the Scottish league?

Simple, Rangers were willing to let the striker sit out all domestic games, only trotting him out on big European nights.

“The three who were really interested were Inter, Lazio and Glasgow Rangers, who followed negotiations all the way,” Giovanni Branchini said.

“The offer from Glasgow Rangers was incredible.

“They told us he didn’t have to play on a Saturday in the Scottish League. They were desperate to win the Champions League and were going to allow him to play in the European matches only.

“But Inter had followed him from when he used to play in Brazil. Barcelona reneged on a new contract and Inter were the first club to meet the release clause, so he went there.”

Being willing to sign a world-class striker for huge money, only to use him for a few games a year? That certainly sounds indicative of the kind of sound business strategy that will definitely not ruin a club and have them relegated to the fourth tier/disbanded entirely.

In the end, Ronaldo chose Inter ahead of Rangers and became one of the greatest players we’ve ever seen.

And not everyone is finding it so easy to picture him lining out in the blue of Rangers.

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