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Cristiano Ronaldo was one step away from joining Arsenal before Manchester United swooped for his services, the Portuguese star revealed in an interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo, now plying his trade at Juventus, made his name at Old Trafford before spending the best part of a decade at Real Madrid.
But things may have been different had he switched to the Gunners in 2003 - a move which almost materialised, he revealed to renowned Arsenal fan Morgan.
"It's true. Very close. One step, incredible. Seriously,” the 34-year-old said on Cristiano Ronaldo meets Piers Morgan.
"It didn't happen but, Arsenal, I appreciate what they did for me.
"Especially Arsene Wenger - but you know football and in football you never know."
After Morgan pressed him for an apology, Ronaldo jokingly added: “I want to apologise, okay.
“Forgive me for not joining Arsenal.”
Ronaldo took part in the candid interview with Morgan following months of controversy stemming from allegations of rape.
The Portugal captain was accused of the crime, which was said to take place in 2009, before the case was eventually dropped as the claims “cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Both as a result of that and his world-famous status the striker, with 84 Premier League goals to his name, added he trusts just four people in his life.
He added: “I’m not going to say names, because I don’t think it is fair.
“But I will say four persons, 100% trust, four persons.
“I have very close friends, family, but who I trust 100%, it's maybe four persons. Life is like that.”
In one part of the broadcast, Ronaldo was shown a video from his father who passed away in 2005 aged 52.
Crying, Ronaldo said: “I never saw the video. I never saw that video. Unbelievable.”
After being asked what it meant to hear his father talk of his pride, he added: “A lot. I think the interview would be funny, but I didn’t expect to cry.
“But I never saw these images. I have to have these images to show my family.
“But I really don’t know my father 100 per cent. He was a drunk person. I never spoke with him, like a normal conversation. It was hard.”
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