It all could have been so different?
Ronaldo, who ended his six year spell at Old Trafford by completing a world record £80m move to Real Madrid earlier this summer, arrived at United in a £12m transfer from Sporting Lisbon on the eve of the 2003-04 campaign.
The Portuguese winger was immediately handed the number seven shirt vacated by David Beckham, who had left United for Real in a £25m deal that summer, despite being just 17-years-old when he signed for United.
Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho had been earmarked by Ferguson as the box office signing to replace Beckham, however.
But after seeing Barcelona hijack United’s attempts to sign the player from Paris St Germain, Ferguson now believes that Ronaldo could have slipped through his fingers had he sealed a deal for Ronaldinho.
Ferguson said: “I thought we’d clinched the deal (for Ronaldinho), but when I flew to Paris to speak with him, the goalposts seemed to have moved somehow.
“His people complained that to me that it didn’t seem as though they were getting the same deal we’d previously agreed. The next thing I know, he was at Barcelona the following day.
“It was a big disappointment at the time, but we signed Cristiano Ronaldo that very same summer and perhaps we wouldn’t have ended up with Ronaldo had we got Ronaldinho.
“We probably would have kept tabs on Ronaldo, though, because we had a precontract agreement with Sporting.
“However, maybe we wouldn’t have accelerated the Ronaldo deal in the way we did.” (Daily Telegraph)
Interesting indeed. I think its a well known fact we were very close to snapping up Ronaldinho but clearly he was playing us off Barcelona looking for the best deal, in the end it seems all parties did well out of it. We got Cristiano, and he gave us six great years, the Catalan side got the Brazilian and he did pretty damn well for them also.