Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has rued missing out on signing Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo earlier in his career.
The Gunners boss endured nine years without a trophy before winning the FA Cup final in May, with Chelsea’s Drogba and Ronaldo of Manchester United contributing to the drought.
“I would have loved to have managed Didier Drogba, for two reasons,” Wenger said, in a sponsor question and answer session.
“One, I missed him when he played at Le Mans in France, not even in the top league. I knew there was a good player there and I missed him.
“And secondly, because he hurt us so much in big games that all this pain would not have happened.”
Asked his biggest near miss in the transfer market, Wenger said: “My biggest regret, I was so close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
“And not only did I not get him, but he signed for Manchester United.
“That, of course, still hurts today.”
Meanwhile, Drogba has told Chelsea fans he needs time to get back to his best after spurning several good opportunities in Chelsea’s disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Schalke in the Champions League.
The 36-year-old was handed his first Champions League start for Chelsea since scoring the winning penalty in the 2012 final, having returned to the club this summer.
Drogba missed Saturday’s 4-2 win over Swansea due to an ankle injury and looked rusty at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
“For a first game they were okay, kind of okay,” Drogba told Chelsea TV. “The good thing is no pain in the ankle, so now I can start working and training and improve the condition.
“I was feeling much better in the second half. I’m like a diesel, I need time.”