Ex-Manchester United midfielder Kleberson has revealed just how close he was to being joined at Old Trafford by Brazilian teammate, Ronaldinho.
As reported in The Mirror, Kleberson tells how he was “100% sure” Ronaldinho was joining him at United, only for him to choose Barcelona upon his departure from PSG.
Sir Alex Ferguson thought he had got his man in the summer of 2003, as United looked to build another great side off the back of the treble winning 99 team.
However, it wasn’t to be and Sir Alex ended up with just one Brazilian through the doors, despite the best efforts of the club who specifically watched the pair in a friendly against France prior to the deals.
“When I spoke with them (United) afterwards, they told me they were watching myself and Ronaldinho. He was close to joining them with me” explained Kleberson.
He also reveals conversations with Ronaldinho, which left him convinced the World Cup winning pair would both be making the move to Manchester.
“I spoke to him about it on a couple of occasions. When the guys from United came to watch us in that friendly, we spoke afterwards, really quickly. He told me “let’s go together!” he said.
Next time Kleberson spoke to Ronaldinho was after the pair had made their respective moves, with the United man not impressed with the Mancunian weather.
“Next time I saw him, I said to him ‘hey, bro… are you kidding me?! You sent me to England where it’s raining every day, and you’re playing for Barcelona now?!” he said.
Kleberson went to play 30 times for United, scoring twice in his two season stay at the club.
Meanwhile, Ronaldinho went on to leave his mark on European football, now widely regarded as one of the most skillful players of his generation.
Despite missing out on Ronaldinho, United signed Cristiano Ronaldo that very summer which lit the touchpaper for another spell of dominance for Sir Alex and the club.
Still, there is a small sense of ‘what if’, given Ronaldinho’s highlight reel. It would have been a joy to watch his strut his stuff at the Theatre of Dreams