Former Barcelona striker Ronaldinho has revealed how close he was to joining Manchester United before moving to the Catalans in 2003.
The Brazilian was playing for Paris Saint-Germain and could have found himself under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford if it was not for the intervention of Sandro Rosell, a future President of Barca and a friend of Ronaldinho following his stint as a Nike executive in Brazil.
“Everything was beautiful and it all happened so fast. Sandro Rosell, a great friend of mine, was about to become part of the Barcelona board,” said Ronaldinho in an interview with El Enganche.
“Before the offers came in he’d asked me if I would play for Barcelona when they [Rosell and Joan Laporta] won the elections and became Presidents, and I said ‘yes’.
“I was almost on the way to Manchester United and only the small details were needed to conclude the agreement. But at the last minute Rosell called to tell me they would win the elections and that made things happen quickly.
“I wanted to play for Barca. When I signed I didn’t feel under any pressure, I just felt joy. I had the chance all footballers would want, to play at a great club like Barcelona.
“It was a chance to follow in the footsteps of my idols. I was proud to play where Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo had played and it was an opportunity to become the club’s new ‘R’. I loved that,” he concluded.