Although he went on to become Manchester United’s greatest-ever goalscorer, Wayne Rooney has admitted that he considered moving to Barcelona at one point in his Old Trafford career.
The England international handed in a transfer request in 2010, and as he recalls on the UTD Podcast, he would’ve loved to have shared the pitch with the likes of Barca’s greatest players.
“I think, at the time, I was looking at clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona,” he said.
“To be honest, it was two or three days where there was communication between myself and them, or my representatives and team.
“I remember sitting down for one day and thinking ‘imagine playing in that Barcelona team – Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets’.
“And at that time Messi wasn’t playing the way he plays now, as a no.9 for instance. He was out wide.
“I was thinking I could have slotted in perfectly. I could have come to the ball as well and have players running in behind.
“I remember thinking about that, but the biggest thing for me was it was sorted out – I had good conversations with David Gill to get it sorted.”
Given how easily his Man United side were dismantled at Wembley the following year in the Champions League final, despite scoring the Red Devils’ consolation Rooney might well have wished he had followed up on perceived original interest.
Sir Alex Ferguson even admitted after the game, per The Guardian that United had never been giving a hiding like Barca had given them.
Real and Chelsea were also sniffing around but thankfully, as far as United’s supporters are concerned, Rooney eventually managed to come to the agreement with David Gill and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.