By Will Butcher
Brazil all-time great Ronaldo almost joined Scottish champions Rangers in 1997, his agent has revealed.
The striker had just won the FIFA World Player of the Year award after an amazing season with Barcelona that saw him find the net 34 times in 37 La Liga games, but was unable to come to a new agreement at the Nou Camp.
FourFourTwo reported that Ronaldo’s agent, Giovanni Branchini, described the offer Rangers had tabled to the player as unique.
“They told us he didn’t have to play on a Saturday in the Scottish league,” Branchini said. “They were desperate to win the Champions League and were going to allow him to play in the European matches only.
“The offer from Glasgow Rangers was incredible.”
The striker, known for his electrifying pace, power and immaculate finishing, was considered as the best striker in the world for nearly a decade during prolific spells at PSV Eindhoven, Barca, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
In 1997, the forward signed for Inter Milan rather than Rangers, after the Nerazzuri made the first move to meet the release clause in the 1997 and 2002 Ballon d’Or winner’s contract.
“Inter had followed him from when he used to play in Brazil,” Branchini said. “Barcelona reneged on a new contract and Inter were the first club to meet the release clause, so he went there.”
Ronaldo scored more than one goal every two games over his whole career, finding the net 405 times in 580 games in all competitions in a trophy-laden career. The 39-year-old also scored 62 times from 98 caps for his country.