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Cristiano Ronaldo almost signed for Barcelona in 2003 – President Joan Laporta reveals massive transfer story

Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably one of, if not the greatest Real Madrid legend of all-time. The Portuguese forward arrived in 2009 from Manchester United and left in 2018 as their top goalscorer of all-time, scoring over 400 goals to establish himself in a league of his own. He was also one of the biggest reasons behind their four Champions League wins with him in the team, one under Carlo Ancelotti and the famous hat-trick under Zinedine Zidane. 

But as revealed by Barcelona president Joan Laporta in 2016, things could have turned out very differently. The reason being Ronaldo was actually offered to the Blaugranes by his agent in 2003, when he was with Sporting. Barcelona could have signed him for £14 million at the time, but decided not to as they had already signed Ronaldinho that summer. 

Cristiano Ronaldo almost signed for Barcelona in 2003: Here’s the story 

Ronaldinho to become Messi's neighbour when he gets released

“We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafa Marquez – Marquez’s people proposed Cristiano Ronaldo to us. He was at Sporting Clube at the time.”

“One of his agents said that they had a player who they had sold to [Manchester] United for €19 million, but they’d sell him to us for €17 million,” the Barca president recalled

“But we had already invested in Ronaldinho at the time. Cristiano played more out wide than in the centre.

Another Cristiano Ronaldos Legendary Celebration Calma calma in Real Madrids Colours Image via The Athletic 1 Cristiano Ronaldo almost signed for Barcelona in 2003 - President Joan Laporta reveals massive transfer story

“We thought we were covered, so we rejected him and I don’t regret it.” 

In the end, Ronaldo went on to sign for Manchester United and the rest, as they say, is history. Ronaldinho, Rafa Marquez and Qauresma went on to help Barca rebuild and end their four-season trophyless streak while Ronaldo shined at Old Trafford before moving to Spain in 2009. 


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Arsh Das
Arsh Das
A music enthusiast, also passionate about football and bringing you the latest in the sporting world every day.



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