Back in 2003, Manchester United came agonisingly close to securing what could have been one of the greatest signings in their history.
Everything was in place for Ronaldinho to complete his move from Paris Saint-Germain to Old Trafford after the player had decided he wanted to join the Red Devils.
"Ronaldinho wants to go to Manchester United," the Brazil international’s brother and agent, Roberto Assis, was quoted as saying by BBC Sport at the time. "Now it is just a question of waiting for the deal to be completed. PSG have an offer from Manchester United and we are waiting for a reply.
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"I have to talk with the PSG president Francis Graille because Ronaldinho wants the situation concluded.
"We are working towards that and now it is just a question of timing."
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Barcelona eventually won the race for his signature
Ten days later and Ronaldinho had signed for Barcelona after the Catalan giants won the battle for the attacking midfielder’s signature at the eleventh hour.
Barça paid £21 million for the 23-year-old and he would light up the Camp Nou with his mesmerising skills for the next five years.
Scholes: United players tried to get revenge on Ronaldinho
But how did the United players feel about Ronaldinho’s decision to snub their club for Barcelona?
Scholes, in an exclusive interview with Republik of Mancunia this week, has revealed all…
“I think Ronaldinho was very close at one time. I think if that’d have happened, I’d liked to have played with him. He was brilliant,” the United legend said.
“I remember that year, we were on the preseason tour and it looked like he was going to sign for us and he ended up signing for Barcelona, and we were playing Barcelona on the preseason tour. Because he didn’t sign for us, everyone wanted to boot him and kick him, but you couldn’t get near him. Brilliant player, would loved to have seen him [at United] but, didn’t happen.”
You can watch highlights of that pre-season friendly between United and Barcelona here…
United ended up getting Cristiano Ronaldo instead
However, had United signed Ronaldinho that summer, it’s safe to assume they probably would have missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sir Alex Ferguson sealed a deal for the Portuguese starlet following a pre-season friendly against Sporting Lisbon in August 2003 and the rest is history.