Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi could have been teammates but Barcelona signed Ronaldinho instead and Manchester United got the Portuguese ace

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Barcelona could have signed Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003 just before he joined Manchester United, the club’s former president revealed.

The Red Devils signed Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon when he was just 18 and proved to be quite the signing for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Cristiano Ronaldo joined Man United in 2003 for £12.24m

Over his five seasons, he scored 118 goals winning three Premier League titles, two League Cups, the FA Cup and Champions League.

He also won the first of his five Ballons d’Or while at United before his record-breaking move to Real Madrid in 2009.

But things could have turned out quite differently as Barcelona rejected the chance to sign him from Sporting for LESS than what the Manchester club paid.

Their reasoning was that they had just signed Ronaldinho that summer and didn’t feel like they needed another winger.

Ronaldo and Messi went on to be career rivals as the greatest players of their generationGetty Images

Barca in fact stole the Brazil World Cup winner from under United’s noses as he was just days away from joining them from Paris Saint-Germain.

“We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafa Marquez,” Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta told Iniestazo (via Goal ). 

Barcelona had no regrets with their decision to sign RonaldinhoAFP

“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, but they’d sell him to us for 17 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.”

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