Former World Cup-winning striker Ronaldo could was in talks to become owner with two separate English sides before investing in Real Valladolid in Spain in 2018.
Both London-based clubs Brentford and Charlton were in contact with O Fenomeno about adding some footballing star power to their boardroom, but he was put off by the higher price of purchasing a team in England compared to the continent.
Speaking exclusively in the new issue of FourFourTwo, in shops on October 20 and available to pre-order with free delivery now, Ronaldo also kept open the door to purchasing an English club "in the near future".
The former striker, who played for Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and PSV during a career that saw him lift two Ballon d'Ors, bought a 51 per cent stake in the Spanish yo-yo club for around £30m three years ago.
While Valladolid is just a two-hour drive from his home in Madrid, it was not the first option on his list when he decided to become a football club owner.
“I was looking for a team to buy and had the help of a few people with it,” the Brazilian said. “There were plenty of opportunities in England, and still are, but since the local leagues are probably the most organised and valuable in the world, the clubs there end up having a far higher valuation than anywhere else in Europe. It’s really interesting.
"Now we all see the Premier League-leading the way in the football industry while the other leagues are doing their best to catch up financially, because competing with English football is so difficult these days.
“Back then, there were some opportunities. Brentford were one of the teams offered to me: I got to talk with them and understand the business plan, and it was very nice.
"There were also clubs in the third tier with massive potential – Charlton, a London side with big tradition, approached me as well. But these were all opportunities requiring investment of more than £50m. In the end, I decided to purchase Valladolid for a cheaper price and keep the quality of life that I have in Madrid. The short distance between Madrid and Valladolid is very important because it allows me to stay close to my business the whole time, so I think it was the best decision that I could have made.”
Despite never playing in England during his career, we could still see Ronaldo in a director's box near you soon, however.
“The English league remains a goal for me in the near future," he told FourFourTwo. "Because when I first started at Valladolid, my idea was to expand the business and try to build a network of teams. Obviously, since I was putting money into Valladolid from my own pocket, I didn’t possess the liquidity to invest in other teams simultaneously – and, to be honest, another project at that point would have made things more complicated. But I’m extremely happy with how things are going around here.”
Ronaldo is working with DAZN on three original content series. The first is available to watch now: ‘El Presidente’, a six-part docu-series that goes behind the scenes with him at Valladolid
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