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Rangers: Ibrox club had a mare with £23.8m striker in 1997

Rangers have had the pleasure of enjoying the talents of some greats of the game over the years at Ibrox, as they have been able to watch a selection of quality players in Glasgow.

The likes of Rino Gattuso, Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup all represented the Gers throughout their careers, to varying degrees of success, but what about the players who almost joined the club?

One player who came close to arriving at Ibrox in 1997 was legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo Nazario, with Rangers one of three clubs attempting to sign him.

He had established himself as a hugely prolific scorer by that point, scoring 54 goals in 57 matches for PSV Eindhoven and 47 times in 49 outings for Barcelona.

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His agent Giovanni Branchini confirmed the three teams who were interested in the forward, saying: “The clause in his contract was a novelty at the time and it scared a lot of clubs off. The three who were really interested were Inter, Lazio and Glasgow Rangers, who followed negotiations all the way.”

The Gers had a nightmare as they failed to convince the then-Barcelona attacker to make the switch to Scotland. He signed for Italian giants Inter Milan for a fee of £23.8m (Transfermarkt) and went on to win the Ballon d’Or later that year.

This was the first time he received the accolade as he was crowned the best player in Europe, with his manager Fabio Capello dubbing him a “phenomenon”.

After moving to Italy, he found the back of the net 59 times in 99 appearances for Inter before Real Madrid snapped him up in the summer of 2002.

In his debut campaign for the Spanish giants, he scored 29 goals in 42 games across La Liga and the Champions League. This led to him winning the second Ballon d’Or of his career as he became Real’s main man at the top end of the pitch.

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Gio van Bronckhorst coaching on the touchline for Rangers

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He ended his time at the Bernabeu with 103 goals and 34 assists in 177 matches – a stunning return for the injury-ravaged centre-forward.

Ronaldo had spells at AC Milan and Corinthians before calling time on his playing days. He ended his career with a whopping 362 goals for club and country, with 67 goals in 104 caps for the Brazil national team/Olympic squad.

These statistics illustrate why Rangers had a nightmare in 1997 as they missed out on the chance to enjoy watching one of the best players in the world lead the line for the club. He was deemed to be the best player in Europe on two occasions and the Gers fans could have been watching him in blue.

One that got away…

AND in other news, Insider drops worrying behind-the-scenes Ibrox claim, it’s very bad news for Rangers…

Article title: Rangers: Ibrox club had a mare with £23.8m striker in 1997

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