Brazilian Ronaldinho nearly joined Premier League giants Manchester United way back in 2003 instead of FC Barcelona. However, he turned down the chance to join the Red Devils and joined Barça instead, cementing himself as one of the world’s best. He also revealed that ex president Sandro Rosell had much to do in helping him decide to join the Catalan giants over the Premier League side.
Speaking to El Enganche, Ronaldinho recounted: “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.”
“Before the offers came in he’d asked me if I would play for Barcelona when they (Sandro 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.”
Things didn’t turn out too bleak for United because Ronaldinho turned them down, even though David Beckham left for Real Madrid. Manchester United brought wonder kid Cristiano Ronaldo as an 18 year-old and we all know how that story ended, don’t we?