Legendary player Paul Scholes says Manchester United was all ready to unveil Ronaldinho and hand him a squad number when at the last minute, the Brazilian changed his mind and heading straight for Barcelona.
The Red Devils icon told BBC Radio 5 Live about those he’d hoped to see United sign:
“I just recall two or three that would have come – Harry Kewell was one, because you know what a nice player he was. At the time as well, Damien Duff was one, Arjen Robben – I guess he was really close to arriving.”
However, “It is Ronaldinho who stands out. I can’t remember the year it was but I guess the boss always wanted him.
“We were away in the pre-season and I think they were close to announcing him and offering him a number but at the last minute, I guess he eventually changed his mind and signed for Barcelona.
“It’s weird because we played against Barcelona in that pre-season tour and we were all happy – ‘Ronaldinho, what a star!’”
He is not the only star to excite Scholes during the transfer talk at Old Trafford, catching his attention with a series of challenging wingers, but Ronaldinho remains the greatest lost chance:
“I was fortunate enough to compete alongside so many fantastic players and he should have been just another one, but it never happened.”
The illusive playmaker, having helped his country gain the glory of the World Cup in 2002, was in demand the following summer.
At Paris Saint-Germain an exit door was opened, with Sir Alex Ferguson considering himself at the front of the queue.
However, the iconic United manager, along with several leaders of his squad who looked forward to collaborating with a man who went on to earn two World Player of the Year awards whilst in Barcelona, was to be left disappointed.
Ronaldinho then spent five years alongside Barcelona, scoring 94 goals through 207 games and leading the Catalan giants to capture two La Liga titles and a Champions League crown.