Ronaldinho: Sandro Rosell behind me joining Barcelona over Man United

Ronaldinho said he would have joined Manchester United in 2003 if Sandro Rosell had not been appointed to the Barcelona board.

The Brazilian was a target for Sir Alex Ferguson when David Beckham joined Real Madrid in 2003 but was instead lured to the Nou Camp for a reported 30 million euros from PSG.

United then made an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo their biggest summer signing for 12.24 million pounds, while Ronaldinho scored 94 goals in 207 games for Barcelona, winning La Liga twice and the 2006 Champions League.

Rosell supported Joan Laporta's bid to become Barcelona president in 2003, serving as vice-president for two years and the former Nike executive then became president himself between 2010 and 2014.

And Ronaldinho told El Enganche: "Everything was beautiful and happened fast. A great friend of mine was about to become a part of the Barcelona board: Sandro Rosell."

"Before the offers came, he had asked me if I would play in Barcelona when they won the election and became the presidents, and I had said 'Yes.'

The 2004 and 2005 World Player of the Year added that he was close to a move to Old Trafford, explaining: "I was almost on my way to Manchester United and only the details needed to be put onto that deal. But in the last minute Rosell called me to tell me they would win the election. That made everything happen fast.

"I wanted to play in Barcelona. When I signed, I didn't feel pressure, I felt joy. I had the chance that all of the players wanted, to play in a great club like Barcelona.

"I had the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my idols. I was proud to play where Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo had played and I had the chance to be Barcelona's new 'R.' I loved that."