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5 Ballon d'Or winners who almost joined the Premier League

ANALYST
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1.53K   //    Timeless

Ronaldinho was on the brink of signing for Manchester United in 2002. (Image: FourFourTwo)
Ronaldinho was on the brink of signing for Manchester United in 2002. (Image: FourFourTwo)

Premier League is one of the biggest sporting leagues in the world. Right now, there are some clubs and managers in England that any player would absolutely love to play for.

Even, in the days that have gone by, the glory and attraction of clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool was hard to overlook.

So, naturally some of the very big names in the game had found themselves linked with a move to England at some point in their careers, but sadly such transfer deals never materialized.

We are by no means trying to say that big players haven't played in the league, Henry, Gerrard, Rooney, Bergkamp, Schmeichel were all exceptional players back in the day.

But none of them could claim the coveted Ballon d'Or during their careers. It is one of the biggest individual awards out there and as fans, we would've loved to see more winners of the Golden Ball featuring in the Premier League.

Well, if managers would've had their way some of these prizewinners could've become Premier League legends as well.

So, sit back and find out below who are the 5 Ballon d'Or winners who almost signed for Premier League clubs:


#1 Rivaldo

Rivaldo's spell at Barcelona made him a world-class striker
Rivaldo's spell at Barcelona made him a world-class striker

Rivaldo is fondly remembered by fans across the globe for his time at Camp Nou. He was one of the most elegant strikers to ever step out on the pitch.

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His exceptional performances with Barcelona and Brazil were rewarded with a Ballon d'Or in 1999 when the player ended as LaLiga's second highest goalscorer in Barça's title-winning run in the 1998 season.

But what most people don't know is that this prolific goalscorer came very close to making a shock move to the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers of all clubs in 2004.

So how did a Barcelona superstar became linked with Bolton Wanderers just two years after winning the World Cup with Brazil?

After Louis Van Gaal returned as Barcelona manager in 2002, the player left the club for AC Milan, where though he won the UEFA Champions League, but failed to impress otherwise.

When he was going to be available for free in 2004, Sam Allardyce, the then Bolton coach launched an audacious bid to land the player. Even Rivaldo was said to be ready for the move, who wanted to end his career in England.

Eventually, due to his huge wage demands, the club pulled the plug and Premier League missed out on this talented striker.

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