I was one of the Premier League's original 13 foreign players in 1992 – I 'discovered' Cristiano Ronaldo in new career | The Sun

TOTTENHAM'S history could have been vastly different – and possibly much more successful – had they listened to one of their former players.

Ronny Rosenthal played for Spurs between 1994 and 1997 making just shy of a 100 appearances for the North London outfit.

He joined the club from Liverpool where he had enjoyed success helping the Reds win the league in 1990, the Community Shield in 1991 and the FA Cup in 1992.

And perhaps you could say he lived up to his price tag as he had arrived on Merseyside from Standard Liege in 1990 as the first foreign player to move to England in a deal worth more than £1million.

The Israel born star cost £1.1million which in today's inflated market would be worth somewhere a lot closer to £40m.

Rosenthal was an unusual case when he arrived in England not least because of his value, but also his nationality.



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When the Premier League began in 1992 he was one of just 13 non-UK players who were part of the inaugural season.

Joining the likes of Eric Cantona, Anders Limpar and Peter Schmeichel he was part of an exclusive club.

Some way away from the exceptional number of foreign players that call England's top flight their home today.

And it could be Rosenthal's background and outsider view of the Premier League that helped him succeed in his new career.

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After hanging up his boots at Watford in 1999, Rocket Ronny turned to life as a football consultant.

Travelling around the world to identify young talent and contacting huge clubs to recommend the gems that he had unearthed.

But the thing about a career of recommending talent is that the clubs you're talking to have to listen to you too.

In Rosenthal's case that didn't always happen and in an interview with The Athletic he revealed how different things could have been if they did.

He said: "I could have been very rich… very rich! Where do I start There are hundreds of players that if the clubs had listened… [things would be different]"

He has laid claim to discovering a number of hugely talented players before they made their big moves.

Rosenthal claims to have tipped the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Gilberto Silva, Dimitar Berbatov and Nemanja Vidic for greatness.

But perhaps the one he remembers the most is Cristiano Ronaldo.

The former Spurs man recalled offering a young Ronaldo to both the white and red sides of North London.

He said: "One of the ones I’ll never forget is Cristiano Ronaldo, who I saw because I was going a lot to Portugal at that time.

"Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in August 2002, and I started watching him a month or so after that.

"I recommended him to Arsenal, Tottenham and others. But they didn’t follow it up."

The Portuguese powerhouse of course went on to have an outrageous career after he signed for Manchester United in 2003.

The global superstar won the Ballon d'Or while with the Red Devils and left the club as a three time Premier League champion and a Champions League winner.

The addition of a player like Ronaldo could have flipped the trajectory of Tottenham Hotspur on its head back in 2003 when they finished 14th in the league.

Now Rosenthal still works as a consultant, but lets his son Dean do most of the travelling for him so he can stay back in the UK.

And although he may look back on what could have been if certain clubs had entertained his phone calls, he is confident there's more stars down the road.

He told The Athletic: "There are always exciting players. They are like flowers, they’re always coming. They never end.”

The ex-Maccabi Haifa star will also be able to look back on his time with Liverpool racking up three trophies with a team that contained the likes of Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish.

Although despite contributing with an astounding seven goals and two assists in eight appearances for the 1990 league title winners, he didn't get a medal.

Unfortunately for Rosenthal he didn't reach the required number of games to be dished out an official medal.

But speaking to The Telegraph he explained that it doesn't bother him and he knows how much he contributed to The Reds' success.

He said: "I did not get a medal, I did not play enough games as there were only eight left when I made my debut.

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"It is not a problem. The performances stay in history. When you finish your career you do not need to look at a medal to know what you have achieved.

"I did something important for Liverpool. I did not need a medal to tell me that.”

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