Joan Laporte has sensationally claimed that Barcelona almost signed Cristiano Ronaldo, but were priced out of a move

Laporte, who was president at Barcelona between 2003-2010, claims that he almost signed Ronaldo in his first year as president of the club.

Manchester United beat Barcelona in the race for the youngster, however, and Ronaldo has since gone on to develop into one of the worlds greatest ever players, eventually breaking the transfer record in 2009 and joining Barca’s fierce rivals Real Madrid for £80 million

But the story could have been very, very different, according to Laporte.

Speaking to Marca, Laporte said :

“We had signed Ronaldinho, Marquez and Quaresma. We were in a process of rebuilding everything qeu was the entity. Then I was at Sporting Lisbon, before joining the ManU, talking to his agent wanted to sell Deco.” he said.

“We said we could not because we could not stretch our budget that much, but they said they had another very good player. It was Ronaldo. They had agreed for €19 million with United, but we offered them €17m “.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) looks at the ball after scoring a goal during the Spanish league "Clasico" football match FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 2, 2016. / AFP / JOSEP LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) looks at the ball after scoring a goal during the Spanish league “Clasico” football match FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 2, 2016. JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

Barca apparently did not improve on that offer, and United landed a man who will go down in history as one of their best players ever.

The news is particularly intriguing given the rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The two have great respect for each other, but there are constant comparisons as to who is the better player and their relationship has been dramatised to no end by the media. To their credit, Ronaldo and Messi have often spoken of their respect for each other.

The though that the two could have played side by side for Barcelona is a ridiculous one. Barcelona already been one of the most dominating teams in the world in recent seasons, and maybe adding Ronaldo to it would have been all they needed to establish utter dominance on world football.

Messi and Ronaldo have both been thorns in each others sides when it comes to the Clasico. Lionel Messi has the most goals of any player in El Clásico history with 21, including two hat-tricks which is also a record, albeit shared with Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas. He also holds the all-time record for assists with 13. Ronaldo has managed 15 goals in the fixture but holds the record for scoring in consecutive games.

Ronaldo and Messi will go head to head once again this Saturday, when Real Madrid travel to the Camp Nou in a crucial La Liga tie.

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