Paul Scholes has recalled Manchester United’s failed attempt to sign Ronaldinho and the excitement amongst the squad at Old Trafford before the Brazilian’s last-minute decision to join Barcelona.
Ronaldinho established himself as the best player in world football during a glittering career at Barcelona, winning two La Liga titles and the Champions League amongst his list of major honours at the Camp Nou.
It could have all been different for the future Ballon d’Or winner, however, Ronaldinho coming close to signing for Manchester United when leaving Paris-Saint Germain in 2003, before a late U-turn saw him head to Spain.
Scholes has reflected on the players the club missed out on during his time at the Red Devils, and has recalled the excitement amongst the dressing room at the prospect of the World Cup winner’s arrival.
“I always remember two or three that were possibly coming – Harry Kewell was one, and you knew what a good player he was. I think he ended up turning us down to go to Liverpool, which didn’t really bother us that much,” Scholes told the 606 Savage Social.
On our recent podcast, we sat down to pick the best Ballon d'Or winning XI. 🎧
As usual, @ColmBoohig got a bit excited when talking about the buck-toothed boy from Gremio. 🇧🇷
— Football Faithful (@FootyFaithful_) May 9, 2020
“Damien Duff was one at the time as well, Arjen Robben – I think he was very close to coming. As a midfielder, you look forward to playing with quick players who can run with the ball and score you goals.
“The one that stands out is Ronaldinho. I can’t remember what year it was but I really think the manager got him.
“We were away in pre-season and I think they were close to announcing him and giving him a number but I think he ended up changing his mind at the last minute and signed for Barcelona.
“It’s strange because in that pre-season tour we were playing against Barcelona so we were all excited – ‘Ronaldinho, what a player’.
“He was coming from PSG and we all thought he is going to bring something special – almost like what Cantona brought to the team – and the next minute, three days later we are playing against him in Seattle and everyone is trying to kick him! We tried to boot him because he didn’t sign for us.
“I was lucky enough to play with so many great players and he would have just been another, but it never happened.”