Barcelona president rejected €17m Cristiano Ronaldo before he joined Manchester United - and has no regrets

Juventus
(Image credit: PA)

Former Barcelona (opens in new tab) president Joan Laporta has revealed that he turned down the chance to sign a teenage Cristiano Ronaldo - and insists he has no regrets.

Laporta held the top job at the La Liga giants for seven years between 2003 and 2010 and is up for election again this month.

And he says that the Catalan club had the chance to beat Manchester United (opens in new tab) to the signing of the Portuguese winger from Sporting CP, but their investment in Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho meant he rejected the offer.

“We were about to sign Ronaldinho and Rafa Marquez," Laporta told Iniestazo. (opens in new tab)(via Goal (opens in new tab)).

"Marquez's people proposed Cristiano Ronaldo to us. He was at Sporting at the time.

"One of his agents said that they had a player who they had sold to United for €19 million, but they'd sell him to us for €17 million.

"But we had already invested in Ronaldinho at the time. Cristiano played more out wide than in the centre. 

"We thought we were covered, so we rejected him and I don't regret it."

Ronaldo, now at Juventus (opens in new tab), went on to huge success in England before becoming the all-time top scorer for Barca’s fierce rivals Real Madrid (opens in new tab).

His haul of five Ballon d’Or awards is only bettered by Barcelona great Lionel Messi.

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