Harry Kewell responds to Gérard Houllier's claim about Cristiano Ronaldo | inside World Soccer

Harry Kewell responds to Gérard Houllier's claim about Cristiano Ronaldo

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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Harry Kewell has confidently claimed that former Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier was right to choose him over Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003.

Last weekend, Houllier admitted that the Reds had the chance to sign a teenage Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon back in 2003.

However, concerns over Ronaldo's wage requests meant Liverpool lost out to Manchester United - and the rest is history.

The Portuguese star went on to win three Premier League titles, one Champions League and even racked up FIFA Ballon d'Or and a UEFA Best Player in Europe award before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

Speaking to Liverpool Echo, Houllier, who managed Liverpool between 1998 and 2004, said:

I saw him in the Toulon Under-21 tournament and we went for him. But we had a wage scale and we weren't paying the sort of salary he wanted.

Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson: 'You have to sign him.'

But I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room.

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Houllier defended the decision, citing the presence of Kewell in the first team as another reason for turning Ronaldo down.

Maybe we would have won the title with Ronaldo, but we had Harry Kewell, who was outstanding at the time and was very hungry but got a bad injury.

After that, he never had the same confidence, the same appetite.

And Kewell himself has now backed his former manager, telling AS:

I mean back when I signed for Liverpool, I think I was the number one person to go round in that year, so I think he made the right decision.

In hindsight yes, you could turn around and say a lot of things, there's a lot of great players that have gone elsewhere that have never been signed.

I think recently the biggest one was Raúl. He got let go by Atlético Madrid and then look where he went to.

Kewell scored 16 goals in 139 appearances for Liverpool, compared to Ronaldo's 84 in 196 for the Red Devils.

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