Celtic and Rangers history of transfer moonshots as Gareth Bale whisper sees him join Beckham and Ronaldo club

It often feels like Scottish football doesn’t play by the traditional rulebook.

But one thing you guarantee is to expect the unexpected at all times.

So where would the arrival of four-time Champions League winner Gareth Bale rock up to Glasgow rank in the all-time wow scale?

It would be near the top but there’s been plenty of shock and awe moments throughout the years.

Not every moonshot has come off but there has been an ambition on show from Celtic, Rangers and other clubs to go bold in the search for landing marquee talent.

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RecordSport takes a trip down memory lane to look back at some of the biggest names in football history to be linked with a switch to Scotland.

Ronaldo-Rangers (1997)

The man referred to by a 90s football nuts as the ‘real’ Ronaldo following the emergence of Cristiano.

There’s a compelling case the Brazilian icon is the greatest No.9 since compatriot Pele.

Pre-injury he was an unstoppable force of pace, power and incredible skill. His incredible finishing for Barcelona also caught the eye of then Rangers chairman David Murray. A £20m bid was in the offing but the R9’s heart was with Inter Milan.

His agent Giovanni Branchini, speaking in 2016, revealed: “The offer from Glasgow Rangers was incredible. They told us he didn’t have to play on a Saturday in the Scottish League.

“They were desperate to win the Champions League and were going to allow him to play in the European matches only.

“But Inter had followed him from when he used to play in Brazil. Barcelona reneged on a new contract and Inter were the first club to meet the release clause so he went there.”

David Beckham-Celtic (2006)

How far did Celtic truly get in their bid to lure the most one of the most famous footballers in history to Glasgow’s east end?

It’s hard to say for certain, however, Gordon Strachan was coy on several occasions when asked if the departing Bernabeu free star was on his signing radar.

Speaking in November 2006, the Celtic boss said: “You can never say anybody is a no-go, either for coming to the club or leaving the club,”

Parkhead was mooted as a potential destination for the David Beckham as he entered the final six months of his deal with Real Madrid.

Bold box office signings were very much the way of working for Celtic under Strachan.

He signed Roy Keane after leaving Manchester United, Massimo Donati from AC Milan, Thomas Gravesen from Real Madrid and Jiri Jarosik from Chelsea.

But Beckham plumped for LA Galaxy as he made a telling impact on Stateside during five successful years which included loans back to Europe with Milan a stint with PSG before retirement.

Ronaldinho-St Mirren (2001)

There’s a compelling case that this incredible transfer would have been the greatest story in Scottish football history.

St Mirren tried, and ultimately failed, to land the Brazilian magician on a short-month deal before his switch to Paris Saint Germain that summer.

His move to the French capital had left him on the outside looking in at Gremio and his St Mirren supporting agent was determined to pull off a deal.

Former Buddies boss Tom Hendrie, speaking in 2018, said: “We agreed with PSG with the type of accommodation to give him, offered him a car and agreed to pay him a similar salary to what we were paying our own players which was nominal compared to what they were paying.”

But red tape with the Brazilian FA put paid to a story for the ages.

Play Bonito in Paisley? It would have been something to cherish.

Lionel Messi – Rangers (2005)

Rangers’ loan inquiry didn’t get very far but you’ve got to ask the question.

A critique of Alex McLeish’s latter spell in charge was that he struggled to get it right in the transfer market but a short-term stint in Glasgow for one of the greatest players in history would have cured a lot of ills.

It didn’t pay off and McLeish exited stage left after finishing third in his final season in charge before the arrival of doomed Paul Le Guen.

Gareth Bale – Celtic or Rangers? (2022)

He loves his golf and Scotland is perfect for that, however, could a switch to Glasgow really be on the cards?

There appears to be a growing sense that his club career is reaching a conclusion and the chance to sign off at in Qatar with Wales at the World Cup is his dream finale.

National team boss Rob Page raved about his natural fitness but being a game changer at a major tournament while a part-time player is a big ask.

Bale spoke earlier in the week about pal Aaron Ramsey’s positive verdict of Rangers and Scottish football.

The 32-year-old appears scunnered after his magical Madrid adventure turned sour but there’s no doubt he would feel the love from Scottish football supporters.

As long as he doesn’t dump Steve Clarke’s side out of World Cup contention, of course!


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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