Cristiano Ronaldo almost joined Barcelona before Real Madrid
- Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi could have been teammates at Barcelona if the deals had gone through.
- In 2003 as well as in 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo came close to joining Real Madrid, before Manchester United and Barcelona respectively.
Cristiano Ronaldo's career path has been nothing short of extraordinary, as he's represented some of the biggest clubs in the world and captained Portugal to their first-ever major trophy. However, the 35-year-old had the opportunity to join Barcelona twice in his professional career, but the moves didn't materialize at the time.
According to former Los Blancos president Roman Calderon, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to join the Blaugrana in 2009, as he did not like the idea of his talisman representing Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as teammates?
Speaking to AS, the former president revealed that the move to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to the Santiago Bernabeu was a difficult one, as the Scotsman tried his best to convince the Portuguese international to the Camp Nou instead.
"It was a difficult negotiation with Manchester United because they did not want to lose the player but he was very clear about what he wanted. He wanted to join Real Madrid and it was a unique opportunity for us, so I took advantage of it."
"Ferguson did not want him to leave and, in particular, he did not want him to join Madrid, as we had won even more trophies than Manchester United, so he offered the player to Barcelona instead."
If Cristiano Ronaldo had joined Barcelona at the time, he would have joined forces with arch-rival Lionel Messi at the Catalan club. However, Ronaldo was clear that he only wanted to join Real Madrid and a move eventually materialized in 2009, as he joined the club for a then world-record fee of £80 million.
"Barcelona were delighted with the opportunity but Ronaldo was very clear about the commitment he had with Madrid and a document that had already been signed.
"There was a document with a signature that, if either the club or the player had breached the deal, he would have to pay €30 million (R612 million) to the other party."
That wasn't the only time Barcelona missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2003, the player was offered to the Blaugrana by an agent, but the reigning La Liga champions were unwilling to cough up the cash for him at the time.
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the players offered to the club in 2003 in an interview with Marca.
"We had signed Ronaldinho, [Rafael] Marquez and [Ricardo] Quaresma. We were in a process of reconstruction throughout the whole club. [Ronaldo] was at Sporting at the time."
"We said that we couldn't because we weren't able to [spend that much at the time], so he told us he had another really good kid. It was Cristiano Ronaldo. He had a deal with United for €19 million, but we were offered him for €17m."
Cristiano Ronaldo was close to joining Barcelona twice in his career, but the Portuguese international joined Manchester United and Real Madrid instead. Who knows what could have been if he became teammates with Lionel Messi in their formative years?