There are not too many clubs in the world that, when they come calling, are nigh on impossible to turn down.
Two such sides are Barcelona and Manchester United, both of whom in the mid-2000s were interested in signing Brazilian sensation Ronaldinho.
We know now that Barcelona won the battle for his signature at the time, with the 37-year-old going on to win two La Liga titles and a Champions League with the Camp Nou outfit. However, were it not for one piece of bad luck, or what others may call a temperate oceanic climate, United may well have gotten their man, that is according to ex-United player Quinton Fortune.
Speaking to Manutd.com, the former South Africa international explained how the weather may have had a part to play in the Porto Alegre native’s decision to turn down the Premier League club.
“I think we got it wrong by bringing Ronaldinho in at the wrong time of year as it was raining that day he arrived at Manchester Airport. Maybe it was summer anyway but, if we’d have timed it with the right day, it could have been a different story.
“It would have been absolutely amazing to have him here. He’s one of the greatest players ever to play football and entertained with his skill, fun and joy. He brought it all and it will be a great occasion for everyone to play against him and watch him.
“I was very fortunate to play for South Africa against him in the Olympics in front of 72,000 fans but, when he was at Barcelona, he was a different Ronaldinho so I’m hoping we get a glimpse of that and I hope I won’t have to mark him!”
While at the time United were dominating domestically, with Ronaldinho there at his peak who knows how many more trophies Alex Ferguson’s side could have won in the noughties.
What was United’s loss, however, certainly turned out to be Barca’s gain and the rest is now history. Following his departure from the Catalan club in 2008 the former Brazil international never truly regained the form which saw him win the Ballon d’Or in 2005 but he will still go down as one of the greats of the game despite the brevity of his superiority amongst his peers.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena