In 2003, Ronaldinho was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, and even asked his friend Kleberson about the club. At the time, Kleberson had just signed for the Red Devils, and had dreams of becoming one of their best-ever players. However, things didn’t quite work out for him at Old Trafford.
Kleberson recently revealed that he had spoken to Ronaldinho about Manchester United, and that the Brazilian had asked him for his thoughts on the club. “They want to sign us, what do you think?” Ronaldinho had asked him. Kleberson had responded positively, saying that he thought it was a big club and that he would be interested in joining.
However, Ronaldinho ultimately decided against joining Manchester United, and instead signed for Barcelona. This was a blow for the Red Devils, who had been hoping to replace David Beckham with the Brazilian. Joan Laporta, who had just won the Barcelona presidential election, had promised to buy either Beckham, Ronaldinho or Thierry Henry. With Henry not leaving Arsenal and Beckham agreeing to move to Madrid, Barca outbid United for Ronaldinho and landed him for €30million.
It’s impossible to know how Ronaldinho would have fared at Old Trafford, but Kleberson’s struggles at the club are well-known. Across his two seasons at United, Kleberson made just 20 appearances in the Premier League. He had helped Brazil to their most recent World Cup triumph in 2002, but was unable to replicate that success at club level.
Despite missing out on Ronaldinho, Manchester United have remained one of the biggest clubs in world football. They have won numerous titles and have attracted some of the best players in the game. While Ronaldinho may have been a great addition to the team, it’s clear that the club has continued to thrive without him.