“We rejected him and I don’t regret it.”
Barcelona reportedly rejected the chance to sign a young Cristiano Ronaldo for a measly sum of €17m back in 2003 according to former president Joan Laporta.
Ronaldo was reportedly offered to the Catalan giants prior to his transfer to Manchester United but Laporta rejected the offer and claims that he doesn’t regret the decision.
Ronaldo moved to Man United and went onto achieve legendary status for his exploits at the club. He’s continued in the same goal-scoring vein even after switching to Real Madrid in Spain and then Juventus in Italy.
The 35-year-old has etched his name as one of the game’s greats and is rivalled only by Lionel Messi in the modern game.
Ronaldo would eventually end up playing for Barcelona’s arch-rivals Real Madrid but things could have ended up being very different had Laporta accepted the initial offer.
“We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafa Marquez,” Laporta said during an interview with Iniestazo.
“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.”
Despite Barce missing out the Ronaldo, former Brazil great Ronaldinho enjoyed considerable success with the Blaugrana during his five-year tenure.
After switching to rivals Real Madrid, Ronaldo clashed with Barcelona on several occasions, emerging as Madrid’s Clasico top scorer with 18 goals.
🗣️ "It was amazing – probably the best of my career."
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 14, 2021
The Portugal captain scored an insane 450 goals in just 438 games during his nine-year stay with Los Blancos before making the switch to Turin in 2018 for €100m.
He has since claimed two Serie A titles with Juventus although it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to secure a third in the 2020-21 season, with Andrea Pirlo’s side sitting fourth in the table, seven points behind leaders AC Milan.