In the summer of 2003, Manchester United agreed a deal with PSG to sign their talented young Brazilian, Ronaldinho. Barcelona had also been in the running.
Peter Kenyon, the chief executive at the time, heard that Barcelona’s smaller bid had been entertained, so when he faxed through the final paperwork, he amended the agreed fee.
This put PSG’s nose out of joint so they binned the United deal and sold him for the smaller figure Barcelona had offered out of principle.
Ronaldinho has reflected on the time he signed for Barcelona and reckons Sandro Rossell’s influence at the Spanish club helped the transfer go through.
A good friend of mine who was running to be on the Barcelona board, Sandro Rosell, had asked me if I’d play for Barcelona when they won the election and I told him that I would. I was on the brink of joining Manchester United, there were just a few details to iron out, but Rosell called me at the last minute to tell me that they were going to win the election. That made everything happen very fast.
United ended up signing some unknown Portuguese teenager instead.