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17th Oct 2017

Harry Kewell has made a bold claim about Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool

Reds fans will probably disagree

Darragh Murphy

If you don’t back yourself then who’s going to back you?

Harry Kewell has confidently claimed that former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier made the correct call when he opted to sign the Australian winger rather than Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003.

Last weekend, Houllier admitted that he’d wanted to sign Ronaldo for the Reds after scouting him but the deal fell apart due to the Portuguese youngster’s salary demands. Houllier instead relied on former Leeds wide man, Kewell.

“I saw him in the Toulon Under-21 tournament and we went for him,” said Houllier, who managed Liverpool between 1998 and 2004.

“But we had a wage scale and we weren’t paying the sort of salary he wanted.

“Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘You have to sign him’.

“But I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room.

“Maybe we would have won the title with Ronaldo, but we had Harry Kewell, who was outstanding at the time and was very hungry but got a bad injury.

“After that, he never had the same confidence, the same appetite.”

Kewell scored 16 goals in 139 appearances for Liverpool, compared to Ronaldo’s 84 in 196 for the Red Devils.

But even given the disparity in both players’ success with their respective Premier League giants, Kewell maintains that Houllier made the right call.

“I mean back when I signed for Liverpool, I think I was the number one person to go round in that year, so I think he made the right decision,” Kewell told AS.

“In hindsight yes, you could turn around and say a lot of things, there’s a lot of great players that have gone elsewhere that have never been signed.

“I think recently the biggest one was Raul. He got let go by Atletico Madrid and then look where he went to.”