Manchester United were convinced they’d signed Ronaldinho in the summer of 2003 only for the Brazilian playmaker to change his mind at the eleventh hour.
Instead of Old Trafford, Ronaldinho instead switched Paris Saint-Germain for Barcelona and the rest, as they say, is history.
It didn’t work out too badly for United in the end, though. As a result of missing out on Ronaldinho, Sir Alex Ferguson instructed the Red Devils to splash out £12.24 million on a talented youngster from Sporting Lisbon named Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, according to the former Barcelona president Joan Laporta, Barcelona had the opportunity to sign Ronaldo as well as Ronaldinho.
Indeed, Barça were offered Ronaldo for two million euros cheaper than the price United ended up paying for the Portuguese youngster’s signature.
Laporta: Barcelona were offered Cristiano
"We were in a process of reconstruction. Cristiano was at Sporting CP and he was close to signing for United.
"The player's agent, who was handling Marquez and Quaresma said 'I've got another really good player who's called Cristiano Ronaldo.'
"We told him we knew about him and he offered him to us for two million [Euros] cheaper than to United, who ended up paying 19 million [euros].”
Barcelona might have regrets
Six years later, Ronaldo would end up signing for Real Madrid for a world record £80 million (€94 million) fee after winning the first Ballon d’Or award of his career.
And at the Bernabeu, he would establish his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time, becoming Madrid’s all-time record goalscorer in the process.
Perhaps Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi in the same team wouldn’t have worked for Barcelona - but wouldn’t it have been fun to watch?
Plenty of Barça fans would argue that Ronaldo doesn’t fit the ethos of their football club but there’s no doubt he would have scored a shedload of goals for the Catalan giants.
Barcelona fans: if you go turn back time, would you want Joan Laporta to have signed Cristiano Ronaldo? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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