Ronaldo nearly signed for 'clever' Wenger

Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo was poised to join London club Arsenal before Manchester United offered three times as much money, the Ballon d'Or winner said in an interview published on Friday.

"I was within an inch of (joining Arsenal)," Ronaldo told France Football. "I have a lot of respect for (manager Arsene) Wenger, he is a very clever man."

Ronaldo, who inspired United to the Champions League and Premier League double this year, was awarded the Ballon d'Or on Tuesday after a poll of 96 international journalists organised by France Football. He joined United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

"I think I have gone down in history. And I am only 23," Ronaldo said.

"But I think I have to work even more. I never relax...I want to do as much next year and even more.

"Since I arrived at Manchester United, I have always improved year after year. I have always achieved something more season after season...I want more titles, more awards and another Ballon d'Or."

Ronaldo also denied he was a diver, saying "You know Hercules? He was hefty and muscular but sometimes he fell," Ronaldo said.