"Yes, he was good," Thompson wrote. "Portugal had two starlets, [Ricardo] Quaresma and Ronaldo, who played right and left wing for their under-21s. I watched them play and both were very good. It was a toss-up as to who was the best.
"I was invited to watch Sporting play Porto in the last game of their season. Tony Henry, the former Manchester City player and an agent with Paul Stretford's ProActive agency, was on the phone on a regular basis to see if we would take Ronaldo and asking if he could take us to watch him. I met Tony at the airport and travelled to Oporto. I met the player's Portuguese agent before watching the game.
"Ronaldo was quite good, but not as impressive as the first time I saw him. Tony was pushing the boy and saying he was a talent. He was saying, 'He'll only cost £4 million. It can be paid over the course of his contract at £1 million a year.' He also said the player wanted £1 million [a year] tax free. I said, 'The boy is only 18. That is a massive problem.' We would have had anarchy if the other players had found out how much we were considering paying for an 18-year-old kid in Ronaldo."
It was only months later that Ronaldo was on his way to Old Trafford for £12.24 million, a fee that Thommo described as "astonishing".