Manchester United reaped the rewards of signing Cristiano Ronaldo for £12m – but before that arch rivals Liverpool thought they had him for just £4m.
The Portuguese star spent six years at Old Trafford where he became one of the club's greatest players of the modern era.
United beat off competition from around Europe to sign him from Sporting Lisbon and that also includes Liverpool.
The Reds were first alerted to a young Ronaldo when he impressed in a game against Porto.
Liverpool no 2 Phil Thompson later went out to dinner with agent Tony Henry where they discussed the player's price tag.
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"I can still remember Tony's exact words," Thompson told The Athletic. "It was all very nice and relaxed.
"It's £4 million and it can be paid over the four years of his contract, so £1 million a year".
"That seemed very reasonable. Then I asked about the salary and Tony told me it was £1 million a year, net."
Liverpool saw Ronaldo as a "great talent" and were prepared to gamble on the youngster despite having reservations over his salary.
The picture changed very quickly though and United stole a march, paying three times what the Merseyside outfit had agreed to.
It came as a shock to then Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier who Thompson claims nearly choked on his food.
Would Ronaldo have been a success at Liverpool? Have your say here.
He continued: "On the Tuesday morning, we were having lunch at the training ground and it came up on the yellow strap on Sky Sports, ' Manchester United have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.2 million'.
"Gerard and myself almost choked on our food. I can remember Gerard jumping up and saying, 'What the hell has gone on there?'."
Ronaldo would go on to win the Ballon d'Or at Old Trafford and scored 118 times for the Red Devils.
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