Paul Scholes Reveals How Close Manchester United Were To Signing Ronaldinho
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Ronaldinho had his Manchester United presentation arranged and shirt number picked before electing to join Barcelona.
The Brazilian has talked about being on the verge signing for United in 2003, but a phone call from new Barca president Sandro Rosell forced him to have a change of heart.
'R10' left Paris Saint-Germain for Barcelona in a £25 million, winning two La Liga titles, the Champions League and claiming the 2005 Ballon d'Or.
Things could have been very different, however, and according to United legend, Paul Scholes, Ronaldinho couldn't have been any closer to making the move to Old Trafford.
Instead, he headed to Spain and lined up against United in a pre-season fixture that same summer.
"I remember two or three that were possibly coming," Scholes told BBC. "
"I think the one that stands out is Ronaldinho.
"He was away on pre-season and we were as a close as announcing him and giving him a number but I think he ended up changing his mind at the last minute and signing for Barcelona.
"It's strange really because we played Barcelona on that pre-season tour.
"We were all excited - Ronaldinho, what a player! I think he was coming from PSG at the time and we were all going to get to play with him and he's going to bring something special.
"Almost like what Eric Cantona brought to the team then three days later, we're playing against him and all trying to kick him because he didn't sign for us."
While Ronaldinho signed for Barcelona at the last minute, his compatriot Kleberson signed for United on the basis that he would have another Brazilian to accompany him.
He told ESPN: "Ronaldinho told me he was going to Manchester,"
"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."