Cristiano Ronaldo: How Real Madrid Superstar Almost Joined Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, November 21, 2015. Ronaldo could have signed for Barcelona in 2003. Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty

Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed how Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo came close to signing for the Catalan club.

Laporta, president at the Camp Nou from 2003 through 2010, explained to Spanish newspaper AS how his administration had been offered Ronaldo when he was a teenager at Sporting Lisbon.

The Portuguese signed, instead, to Manchester United for £12 million ($15 million) before breaking the world record when he moved to Madrid in 2009 for £80 million ($100 million).

"When we [the new administration] arrived, we signed Ronaldinho, [Rafael] Marquez and [Ricardo] Quaresma," Laporta told AS.

"We were in a process of reconstruction. Cristiano was at Sporting and he was close to signing for United.

"The player's agent, who was handling Marquez and Quaresma said, 'I've got another really good player who's called Cristiano Ronaldo.'

"We told him we knew about him and offered him to us for two million [euros] cheaper than to United, who ended up paying 19 million."

Ronaldo will come up against Barcelona on Saturday in the first El Clasico of the season, at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona trails Real by six points in the La Liga table.