Laporta: Barcelona were offered Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003
Former Barcelona chief Joan Laporta reveals Cristiano Ronaldo could have been a Barcelona player
Former-Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed Barcelona were offered the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon before the Portuguese star moved to Old Trafford.
The Goal.com report carries quotes from the former-Nou Camp chief that claim Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, offered the forward to Barca in the summer of 2003, but the La Liga giants decided against making a bid due to limited transfer funds.
The Catalan club had recently splashed out on Ronaldinho, Ricardo Qauresma and Rafael Marquez, and Laporta reveals the club lacked the resources to finance a move for an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo as well.
Speaking to Onda Cero, Laporta said: "Mendes offered us Cristiano Ronaldo when he was still under contract with Sporting. We worked with Jorge quite a lot back then.
"We could have got Ronaldo for a lower price than Manchester United eventually paid for him. However, we had just signed Ronaldinho, Ricardo Quaresma and Rafael Marquez, and we lacked the financial resources to make another signing."
But Ronaldo is not the only current Real Madrid star who could have ended up at the Nou Camp, had things turned out differently.
Laporta went on to reveal that Barca were in talks with AC Milan regarding a swap deal involving Kaka and Ronaldinho.
"We had dinner with Silvio Berlusconi and he proposed a player-exchange deal involving Kaka and Ronaldinho. That was not an option for us, though, as Ronaldinho was key player for us back then.
"It started out as a bit of a joke, but Berlusconi quickly turned serious. It's a real shame that Kaka has not really succeeded at Madrid. He was a fantastic player at AC Milan."
Kaka eventually joined Real Madrid for £56m in 2009 - the same year Ronaldo made his way to the Bernabeu in a £80m from Manchester United. But while Ronaldo has flourished at the Bernabeu, Kaka has failed to match the heights of his performanaces in an AC Milan shirt since his move to Madrid.