Portuguese footballing icon Nuno Gomes has explained just how close he was to joining Liverpool back in 2001.
Liverpool, who at the time were under the tutelage of former manager Gerard Houllier, made an approach to Florentina to sign the then-25-year-old striker, but Gomes made the decision to remain in the Italian top-flight.
He did eventually return back to his homeland after two years in Serie A.
Gomes, 44, clocked up a whopping 166 goals following two separate spells with Benfica, whom he won two league titles with.
The 79-time Portugal international was also part of his country’s national team that famously had a strong record against England in major tournaments. A Seleção sent the Three Lions packing from Euro 2000 and 2004, as well as the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Gomes’s illustrious career saw him enjoy spells with Bostavia, Benfica (twice), Florentina, Braga and even a minor stint with Blackburn Rovers back in 2012/13, whom he clocked up 20 appearances for.
And Gomes has revealed that he had the chance to make the switch to England with Liverpool 11 years prior to his decision to join Ewood Park.
“I was close to Liverpool once, while I was playing for Fiorentina,” Gomes told the Mirror.
“But at that time, in 2001, the offer came right in the middle of my first season in Italy and I was enjoying it – the Serie A was very strong at the time.
“So in the end it didn’t happen.
“There were also some talks with Tottenham and West Ham later, but nothing materialised.”
What RTK has to say
Well, it certainly would have been some prospect to have seen Gomes’ talents utilised under the famous lights of Anfield.
Gomes was linked during a time when Liverpool had the likes of Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Emile Heskey all at the manager’s disposal.
Perhaps such a formidable attacking forward line indicated to Gomes that his prospects as a guaranteed starter were limited up against the aforementioned list of Anfield icons.
Still, with Liverpool finishing second that following season from which Gomes was linked with an Anfield move, you can’t help but wonder what kind of an effect the legendary striker might have made had he decided to make the switch to Merseyside.