Ronaldinho reveals reason for choosing Barcelona over Man Utd in 2003

Kavan Flavius

The name Ronaldinho is one that will never be forgotten in the world of football, no matter how many generations come and go.

The Brazilian legend, who shot to stardom at Paris Saint-Germain before going on to cement his place in the history of the game with Spanish giants Barcelona, is now retired and works as an ambassador for the Catalan side. But things could have been very different, as he could have signed for Manchester United instead.

FC Barcelona Brazilian Ronaldinho gestur

Back in the summer of 2003, the way to Old Trafford was nicely paved for the former Brazil international. David Beckham was set to join Barcelona, while Ronaldinho was set slot in as his replacement. However, Beckham chose to join Real Madrid instead, leaving Ronnie to choose between United and Barca, as the La Liga outfit had made him their target after missing out on the Englishman.

That same summer, Joan Laporta was fighting to become Barcelona's new president, and his running mate was none other than Sandro Rossel.

Rossel knew Ronaldinho from his days in Brazil, working as a Nike executive, and did all he could to bring the player in after Laporta won the election.

Barcelona v Real Madrid

Ronaldinho, knowing he wasn't the club's first choice, opted to sign for them anyway, mainly because of his relationship with Rossel. And speaking in an exclusive interview with  Four Four Two, the World Cup winner claimed that he never let it bother him.

“I never even thought of that,” he insisted. “Yes, I could have played for another club, but I went to Barcelona because of my friendship with Sandro Rosell. 

Barcelona's Ronaldinho De Asis Moreira o

"I could have played for Manchester United. My brother was already studying what I would do after PSG. I was a World Cup winner then, and that opened a lot of doors. But when Sandro was elected, I had the chance to see the club and the city, and the choice became easy.”

Things worked out for all three parties, though. Manchester United lost Beckham and missed out on Ronaldinho, but then signed a certain Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting CP.

The rest, is history.

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Kavan Flavius is a regular contributor to the Official Chelsea Guest Fan Blog, find him on Twitter@KavanFlavius.

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