Ronaldinho had the opportunity to join Manchester United back in 2003 but instead decided to join Barcelona.
The Brazilian then went on to become one of the world’s best players in Spain and speaking about his decision to snub an Old Trafford move, Ronaldinho revealed Barcelona president Sandro Rosell played a major role in the move.
“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,” he said.
“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 Barça. 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.”
It would have been superb for Ronaldinho to have joined United in the same summer David Beckham left the club but as it happened, United would go on to buy an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2003, so it didn’t turn out too badly in the end.
Maybe if Ronaldinho had joined then Ronaldo’s progress as a player would have been stifled and we wouldn’t have been treated to some of his most memorable moments like his scorching free-kick against Portsmouth, so all’s well that ends well.