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5 Real Madrid players who almost joined Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka came close to joining Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka came close to joining Barcelona
Sripad
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 27 Apr 2020, 18:59 IST
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The rivalry between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is something that is known to all. The two sides dominate La Liga every single season and boast of having the best players in the world. The fixture is more than just a game for both the clubs and their fans.

While there are a handful of players who have represented both clubs, there are a lot of players that were lured by both, but only one managed to sign the star. Here's a look at five such players who were targetted by Barcelona but ended up signing for rivals, Real Madrid.


5. Marco Asensio

What a talent!
What a talent!

Marco Asensio was someone who was scouted heavily by Barcelona during his time at RCD Mallorca. The young Spaniard was in top form for the B team when he just 17 years old. 

He was so impressive for the B-Team that Mallorca promoted him to the senior squad straight away. He continued to impress for the first team, and thus Barcelona made a move to sign him up.

A deal was agreed for the youngster to go to the Catalans for a fee of €4.5 million. Reports suggest that Asensio was also keen on joining Barcelona and had already started looking at houses in the area.

Barcelona wanted to pay the fee agreed in instalments while Mallorca wanted the full amount in a lump sum. With the deal stalled, it gave Real Madrid a chance to snap him up, and they swooped in.

The midfield sensation was loaned back to Mallorca straight away and then loaned out to Espanyol the following season. After impressing in both his loan spells, Zidane gave him a chance to prove himself for the Real Madrid first team.

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Asensio impressed Zidane so much when he got the chances that the manager started preferring him over big-money signings like Isco and James Rodriguez.


4. Alfredo Di Stéfano

What a steal (literally)
What a steal (literally)

In 1952, Di Stefano, who represented Colombian side, Millonarios, was in Spain for a friendly tournament. He was already a renown player who was boasting of a goal record that stood at almost a goal-per-game.

Despite being with Millonarios, Di Stefano’s rights were held by River Plate. He had fled to Millonarios three years earlier following a footballers’ strike in his homeland.

Millonarios rejected Barcelona's bid for their striker, but the Catalan giants refused to take the rejection seriously. They believed that they only had to talk to River Plate and agreed a deal with them. They also arranged for Di Stefano and his family to move to Spain in 1953.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) intervened and refused to sanction the player's move as they had not agreed a deal with Millonarios. In the meantime, Real Madrid president, Santiago Bernabeu made a move for the player and reached an agreement with Millonarios.

Both clubs claimed to have agreed a deal with the player and the RFEF had to intervene again. The RFEF gave a bizarre verdict stating the player could play for both clubs in alternate seasons with Real Madrid being the first one.

Barca president, Marti Carreto was angry with the decision and ripped up Di Stefano’s contract, freeing him to move to Madrid. He went on to become a Madrid legend by leading them to 5 Champions League titles!


3. Kaka

What a signing he would have been
What a signing he would have been

Kaka would have been playing alongside Xavi and Iniesta had the club accepted a swap deal offered to them by AC Milan. Barcelona president, Joan Laporta had dinner with Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi when the Italian proposed a player-exchange deal involving Kaka and Ronaldinho.

Laporta explained the situation in detail a few years later.

"We had dinner with Silvio Berlusconi and he proposed a player-exchange deal involving Kaka and Ronaldinho. It started out as a bit of a joke, but Berlusconi quickly turned serious."

Again in 2015, when Kaka was playing for Orlando City in the MLS, it is rumoured that he was offered a chance to join Barcelona on loan. The Brazilian international was working on an opportunity to get back into the national team during the season break in the MLS.

Despite flopping at Madrid, Kaka did not want to play for their arch-rivals. He eventually rejected the chance to join the Catalan giants and stayed at Orlando City, where he ultimately retired.


2. Mesut Özil

One of Barcelona’s biggest mistakes?
One of Barcelona’s biggest mistakes?

In 2010, Ozil was set to leave Werder Bremen, and Barcelona reached an agreement to sign the German for just £7 million. The midfielder even went on to met with the Catalan's president, Sandro Rosell, but the Spanish club's board were divided over the move.

Barcelona board's indecisiveness gave Real Madrid enough time to swoop in and take him to Bernabeu. Madrid ended up paying £11 million for Ozil, and it was repaid by the midfielder who flourished and developed into a world-class player.

It is reported that Barcelona's board was busy deciding the future of Thierry Henry at the club and that distracted them from the signing of Ozil. Alexander Hleb was also said to be the top priority of the board at the time.


1. Cristiano Ronaldo

He only wanted to join one side
He only wanted to join one side

Imagine a team where Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were playing together. Well, it almost happened twice!

Former Barcelona president, Joan Laporta had revealed that the Catalan giants almost signed Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 before he went on to sign for Manchester United.

"When we [had just] signed Ronaldinho, Marquez and Quaresma. We were in the process of reconstruction. Cristiano was at Sporting, and he was close to signing for United. The player's agent, who was handling Marquez and Quaresma [...] said,
"'I've got another really good player who's called Cristiano Ronaldo.' We told him we knew about him and he offered him to us for €2 million cheaper than to United, who ended up paying €19 million." 

After spending six years at Old Trafford, Ronaldo finally decided to leave the club. The player wanted to sign for Real Madrid, but Sir Alex Ferguson, who was like a father-like figure for him, wanted him to join Barcelona instead.

Sir Alex was not someone who preferred Los Blancos and offered him to Barcelona instead. Perez confirmed this in 2014 and said:

"I don't know why, but Ferguson is a bit obsessed with Real Madrid. He doesn't like us very much, I have to say that. He then said no, Cristiano is not going to leave for Real Madrid and they offered the player to Barcelona."
"Barca said that's okay we are prepared to pay what you are asking. But the important thing was that the player said 'no, it's Real Madrid or nothing."

Published 07 Feb 2017, 17:27 IST
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