Ronaldinho Was 48 Hours Away From Joining Manchester United
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Ronaldinho Was 48 Hours Away From Joining Manchester United

On this day in 2003, Ronaldinho signed for Barcelona and the rest is history, but things could have turned out so different.

The Brazilian was convinced he would be joining Manchester United instead of the Catalan giants.

In fact, he was 48 hours away from joining the Red Devils and playing football under Sir Alex Ferguson.

But he opted to sign for Barcelona instead in a move reportedly worth £21 million.

Ronaldinho would go on to win consecutive La Liga titles and a Champions League trophy.

He would also lift the Ballon d’Or in 2005 but things could’ve been so different had he made the move from Paris Saint-Germain to Old Trafford.

“It almost happened with United,” Ronaldinho said to Four Four Two earlier this year.

“It was a matter of 48 hours, but Sandro Rosell had told me way before I got the offer: ‘If I become Barca president, will you come?’ I said yes.

Image: PA

“It was only a matter of details with United when Rosell called to say he was going to win the elections there.

“And I had promised to him that I’d play for Barca. It was a quick negotiation. I told the English I had chosen Barca.”

Imagine if Ronaldinho graced the Premier League alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

Former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson even told ESPN that he only joined the club because he thought that Ronaldinho would be doing the same.

“Ronaldinho told me he was going to Manchester,” he said.

“He kept saying to me, ‘Come to Manchester!’ I wanted to go, but I was reluctant because I didn’t speak English and United didn’t have any Portuguese speakers.

“Ronaldinho persuaded me and I went to Manchester. But he didn’t.”

Image: PA

Of course, Kleberson flopped at the Theatre Of Dreams and his fellow Brazilian went on to become one of the all time greats.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He’s interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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