"He headed the list I gave Jorge Valdano, the sporting director. But fortunately - I say that now - he ended up joining United instead. And it happened through me because Sporting Lisbon, where I was once the manager, used me to ask United to inaugurate their stadium [the Alvalade had been rebuilt for the forthcoming European Championship] by playing a pre-season friendly.
"So I went to Alex and he was happy to do it. Sporting won 3-1, Cristiano had a fantastic game -and all doubts about him disappeared.
''Alex had to make a quick decision after Lisbon," smiled Queiroz. ''Otherwise Jorge and I would have got Cristiano."