The Incredible Story Of How Ronaldinho Tricked Kleberson Into Signing For Manchester United
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Former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson has revealed Ronaldinho duped him into signing for the club back in 2003.
The two were both heavily courted by United after both were part of the Brazil side that won the 2002 World Cup but only managed to land Kleberson from Atlético Paranaense in a £6.5 million deal.
Ronaldinho wasn't far off making the move to Old Trafford but told his compatriot Kleberson he was joining him in England before making the switch to Barcelona instead.
'There were two clubs interested in signing me: Manchester United and Leeds,' Kleberson told FourFourTwo magazine, via Metro.
'It was an easy choice, but there's a funny story about it, too. When [Manchester] United's interest in me was confirmed, I was with the national team in France for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
"I can remember it clearly: I was with Ronaldinho and his brother/agent, Assis. Ronaldinho said, 'They want to sign both of us'.
"I said, "OK, let's go, then!' I was so glad that he would be coming with me. I went back to Brazil and kept negotiating with United, but then Ronaldinho fooled me and went to play in the warm weather at Barcelona! He sent me to Manchester.
"That's a joke between us until today. He knows that he owes me one."
Never really deemed good enough by Sir Alex Ferguson, Kleberson made just 20 league appearances for United and was offloaded to Besiktas in 2005.
Years on from his failed move to United, Ronaldinho revealed he was 48 hours away from becoming a United player.
"It almost happened with United," Ronaldinho said to Four Four Two.
"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.
"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."
At Barca, Ronaldinho would win back-to-back La Liga titles and the Champions League, as well as claiming the 2005 Ballon d'Or.