Barcelona turned down chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 because of Ronaldinho | inside World Soccer


Barcelona turned down chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 because of Ronaldinho

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Barcelona President Joan Laporta attends the Laureus Sports Awards at the Palau Sant Jordi on April 2, 2007 in Barcelona, Spain
Photo: Jamie McDonald/GETTY IMAGES

Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed that the club gave up the opportunity on signing Cristiano Ronaldo in favour of Ronaldinho back in 2003.

Laporta, who was at the helm at Camp Nou between 2003 and 2010, revealed a young Ronaldo was offered to the Catalan giants whilst he was still with Sporting Lisbon.

However, Barcelona decided not to pursue Ronaldo due to the impending arrival of Brazilian wizard Ronaldinho from Paris Saint-Germain.

Looking back on that fateful decision 18 years ago, Laporta, who is a candidate for the club's next presidential elections, told Twitter user Iniestazo:

We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafa Márquez.

Márquez's people proposed Cristiano Ronaldo to us. He was at Sporting at the time.

One of his agents said that they had a player who they had sold to [Manchester] United for €19m, but they'd sell him to us for €17m.

But we had already invested in Ronaldinho at the time. Cristiano played more out wide than in the centre.

We thought we were covered, so we rejected him. I don't regret it.

Barcelona would go on to enjoy huge success with Ronaldinho, winning two La Liga crowns and one Champions League title during his five-year spell.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo ultimately joined United and shot to superstardom before moving to Real Madrid six years later.

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