Joan Laporta, a former FC Barcelona president who is currently in the running for the position again, has revealed why he rejected the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003.
Ronaldo joined Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon 18 years ago, but was reportedly on Barcelona’s shortlist too.
Laporta, who was the club’s president at the time, however, passed up on the opportunity to sign the Portuguese winger, as he felt the team did not need any wide players and because they had just ensured Ronaldinho’s arrival from Lyon.
"We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafael Marquez," he told Iniestazo, as cited by Goal.
"Marquez’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 €19 million (R352 million), but they’d sell him to us for €17 million (R315 million).
"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 and I don’t regret it."
See players below who reportedly left Barcelona over the years because of Lionel Messi: