AC Milan's former managing director Marco Fassone has revealed that the Rossoneri tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017, only to abandon the attempt because he was too expensive.
Ronaldo signed for Juventus earlier this year after nine years at Real Madrid. He has made a strong start to life in Italy, scoring eight times in his first 12 Serie A appearances, including against Milan in Juve's last match.
And yet, things could have played out so differently. According to Fassone, Ronaldo had been keen to leave Real Madrid the previous summer, and Milan president Jonghong Li had given the transfer the green light.
"Mr Li wanted Cristiano in the team because he believed it would have had a massive impact on the Chinese market," Fassone told finance paper Sole24Ore.
"The player wanted to leave Madrid. We met with his agent Jorge Mendes in July 2017 to verify price and the availability of the player. I then convinced him [the president] to abandon the dream: Cristiano was too expensive."
Milan were grappling with Financial Fair Play (FFP) at the time and even without signing Ronaldo, they fell foul of the rules earlier this year and were banned from competing in the Europa League before that ruling was overturned.
Juventus spent €100m to bring Ronaldo to Turin, where he will earn €120m over the course of a four-year contract. His annual salary is more than three times that of Juve's previous highest earner, Gonzalo Higuain, who was sent out on loan to Milan.
It is a question of what might have been for Milan, who are 13 points behind Juventus in Serie A after 12 games.