Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho wanted to leave PSG to sign for Manchester United in 2003, which was brilliant at the time, given the way he had performed in the World Cup the year before. When you consider the following year he was named the best player in Europe and the World, it’s pretty gutting to remember how close we were.

“I admire Manchester United and I love watching them play,” Ronaldinho said in June 2003. “Of course I would like to be at a great club like that — anybody would. The idea of joining Manchester United makes me dream, because they are a big, successful club and play my kind of football. I have a burning desire to be involved with a club that plays in big games all the time.”

Peter Kenyon fucked up the Ronaldinho deal though, playing silly beggers and trying to penny-pinch, but the manager has revealed today that maybe it was for the best, given we signed Cristiano Ronaldo on the back of that disappointment.

“I thought we’d clinched the deal for Ronaldinho, but when I flew to Paris to speak with him, the goalposts seemed to have moved somehow,” said Ferguson. “His people complained that to me that it didn’t seem as though they were getting the same deal we’d previously agreed. The next thing I know, he was at Barcelona the following day. It was a big disappointment at the time, but we signed Cristiano Ronaldo that very same summer and perhaps we wouldn’t have ended up with Ronaldo had we got Ronaldinho. We probably would have kept tabs on Ronaldo, though, because we had a precontract agreement with Sporting. However, maybe we wouldn’t have accelerated the Ronaldo deal in the way we did.”