Cristiano Ronaldo reveals Barcelona's earlier interest to sign him
Madrid, Nov 10 (IANS) Real Madrid's superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that arch-rivals FC Barcelona were interested in signing him before he joined Manchester United in 2003.
The Portuguese striker explained that when he was at Portugal's Sporting Lisbon, he attracted the attention of many European giants, including Barcelona, Inter Milan, Arsenal and Valencia, but he chose to join Manchester United, according to Portuguese media reports on Wednesday, reports Efe.
"When I'd played a few games with Sporting, I awoke the interest of various European clubs, such as Inter, Arsenal, Valencia and Barcelona," the 31-year-old Madrid player was quoted as saying by www.sport-english.com.
Manchester United signed him after he impressed the English football club's coach Alex Ferguson in a friendly match.
Even before signing for Real Madrid, Ronaldo could have played for Barcelona if legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had his way. Incensed with Real Madrid for taking away all his star players behind his back like David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gabriel Heinze, the Scotsman had famously proclaimed that he would not even “sell a virus” to Real Madrid.
Resigned to losing Ronaldo in 2009, Sir Alex even tried offering Ronaldo to Real Madrid’s direct rivals Barcelona, but the Portuguese superstar himself rejected the offer as he only wanted to play for Real Madrid.
Former Real President Roman Calderon spoke about how Ronaldo rejected Barcelona in March 2014:
“In the few weeks, he tried to avoid him going to Real Madrid, offering him to Barcelona. Barcelona were very happy but in that moment but it was very crucial as Ronaldo said: Im not going to any other club but Real Madrid.”
Ronaldo is undoubtedly the most high-profile player to ever reject the Catalan giants.