Monaco's billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev considered buying Manchester United before he bought the Ligue 1 club.

Speaking to Paris Match, as reported by A Bola, the Russian billionaire revealed he thought about a bid for the Old Trafford club after falling in love with Premier League football.

"I watched a live football game for the first time ten years ago, at Stamford Bridge," said Rybolovlev.

"But not in a box, in the stands with the fans. It was there that I discovered my passion for football.

"Before Monaco, I was interested in other clubs, like Manchester United, where I had a box.

"But Monaco is a club with a rich history and very beautiful."

The 46-year-old has an estimated fortune of €9bn, primarily earned through his ownership of the potash producer Uralkali.

US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer took control of Manchester United in 2005 in a takeover worth £790m. The American was widely criticised for saddling the Old Trafford club with debts, and a Green and Gold campaign was launched to oust him from the club.

Rybolovlev bought Monaco in December 2011, and the club won promotion back to the top flight of French football last season after a brief sojourn in Ligue 2.

The Russian financed a massive spending spree, and in came Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho among others this summer.

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