Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has revealed how close the club were to securing the signature of then Brazilian sensation Ronaldinho in the summer of 2003.
The club’s interest in the player made us reserve a shirt number for the Brazilian before he changed his mind and signed for Barcelona instead.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5, the Old Trafford icon: “I always remember two or three [players] that were possibly coming. The one that stands out is Ronaldinho. I really think the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] got him.
“We were away in pre-season and I think they were close to announcing him and giving him a number but I think he ended up changing his mind at the last minute and signed for Barcelona.
“It’s strange because in that pre-season tour we were playing against Barcelona so we were all excited – ‘Ronaldinho, what a player’. He was coming from PSG and we all thought he is going to bring something special.
“Almost like what [Eric] Cantona brought to the team. But the next minute, three days later we are playing against him in Seattle and everyone is trying to kick him! We tried to boot him because he didn’t sign for us.”
The Brazilian is widely considered among the most naturally talented players of all time, but his off-field lifestyle ruined his career.