Most Manchester United fans are aware Ronaldinho was close to an Old Trafford move in 2003, but now the Brazilian has revealed he was an agonising 48 hours away from completing the switch.
The Brazilian sensation was in demand whilst at Paris Saint-Germain following an impressive World Cup display in 2002 as well as stunning domestic form in the French capital. Manchester United seemed favourites to sign him before Barcelona swooped in and won the race.
Originally it was believed that Barcelona had won the race because they had offered more money than Manchester United, but Ronaldinho has confirmed that a deal to take him to Old Trafford was all but done, but his close relationship with Sandro Rosell forced him into a change of heart.
A matter of detail
Speaking to FourFourTwo, Ronaldinho says: “It almost happened with United. It was a matter of 48 hours, but Sandro Rosell had told me way before I got the offer: 'If I become Barça president, will you come?' I said yes.
"It was only a matter of details with United when Rosell called to say he was going to win the elections there. And I had promised to him that I'd play for Barça. It was a quick negotiation. I told the English I had chosen Barca."
It's an excruciating admission from the playmaker, who went on to win the Ballon d'Or during a five-year spell at the Nou Camp. His failed transfer to Manchester United still goes down as one of Sir Alex Ferguson's biggest failures as manager.
However regretful the move may have been for Manchester United, who could well have done more to make sure the deal was completed, there is no regret from Ronaldinho's side, who says he made the right choice to move to Catalonia.
He said: “It was the right choice. Brazilians have always loved Barça. We have a history there. Off the pitch it is like nowhere else in Europe, so we are always happy playing there."
This is not the first time the Atletico Mineiro schemer has spoken out about his failed move to the Premier League club. Last year he confidently claimed that if Ferguson had done more to sign him, Manchester United would have won a lot more European trophies.
"If Manchester United had signed me they would have won more European Cups," Ronaldinho told sambafoot.com in Febraury 2013.
"I have played for some of the biggest teams in the world and won everything."
David Beckham to blame?
Ironically, Manchester United's sale of David Beckham to Real Madrid forced Barcelona to make a move for Ronaldinho. Newly-elected president Joan Laporta had promised to bring the England star to the Nou Camp as part of his election campaign but was forced to switch to Ronaldinho after Beckham became a Galactico.
Had Ferguson not decided to sell Beckham so rapidly, they could have sold Beckham to Barcelona, keeping them at bay and sealing a deal for Ronaldinho. We'll never know.
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