Mark Hughes reportedly turned down the Brazilian duo of Ronaldo Nazario and Thiago Silva during his time as manager of Manchester City.
That is the claim from former City midfielder Stephen Ireland who suggested Hughes was reluctant to sign the two players due to the club having ‘too many Brazilians’ in their first-team squad.
At the time, the Blues were in the early stages of their new takeover from the City Football Group and were looking to spend big money in order to secure quick success.
One of those early landmark signings was Robinho from Real Madrid, which was a British record at the time, but the club aspired to do even more big-money business.
The club had identified the superstar Ronaldo as a potential signing, while Thiago Silva was still at Fluminense at the time.
But Ireland revealed that Hughes’ intervention led to both potential deals collapsing and the alleged reason behind the snub is particularly baffling.
Ireland suggested that Hughes had rejected the opportunity of giving Ronaldo and Thiago Silva a trial at the club.
It’s said that Robinho was the player who pitched the idea to the manager, claiming that Silva could partner Vincent Kompany and Ronaldo could bolster the frontline, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
“I can remember when he came in, after a couple of days he told Mark Hughes to sign Ronaldo, who was a free agent at the time, and he also told him to sign Thiago Silva, because he was available for £2.5m,” Ireland told ‘Ladbrokes: Fanzone’.
“I think he was playing in Brazil at the time and would’ve been around 23. Mark Hughes said no, he said we had too many Brazilians in the team with Elano and Jo playing for us.
“I remember when Robinho was talking about it, I was just walking around the training complex just saying to anyone who’d listen, ‘imagine what it would be like if Ronaldo comes here? Imagine?’ He must’ve been up for it himself because otherwise I don’t think Robinho would’ve asked the question to Mark.”
Ronaldo Nazario never graced the Premier League during his playing career. Credit: REUTERS/Juan MedinaFollowing the first rejection, Robinho had offered to put the two players up at his house to try and push the idea through, but Hughes reportedly refused to budge.
While Ronaldo retired shortly after that, we still would have had one of the best players of all time in our league for even a brief period, even if he wasn’t the player he once was.
We were also robbed of a young Kompany and Silva developing side by side – what a centre-back pairing they would have been!
Both went on to have incredibly successful careers, but this whole story leaves us thinking what if?