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The 2005 Ballon d'Or winner was persuaded by Sandro Rosell to move to the Catalan side from Paris Saint-Germain rather than sign for the Old Trafford outfit in 2003

Former Brazil star Ronaldinho has admitted he was 48 hours from signing for Manchester United in 2003, only to be persuaded by Barcelona to move to Camp Nou instead.

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The 34-year-old, who now plays for Atletico Mineiro, impressed Sir Alex Ferguson sufficiently for a deal to be agreed to bring him to Old Trafford from Paris Saint-Germain, but opted out of the move following discussions with incoming Barca president Joan Laporta's senior advisor Sandro Rosell.

And the playmaker believes he made the correct choice, as he went onto win the Ballon d'Or just two years later.

"It almost happened with United," he told FourFourTwo.

"It was a matter of 48 hours, but Sandro Rosell had told me way before I got the offer: 'If I become Barca president, will you come?' I said yes.

"It was only a matter of details with United when Rosell called to say he was going to win the elections there. And I had promised to him that I'd play for Barca. It was a quick negotiation. I told the English I had chosen Barca.

"It was the right choice. Brazilians have always loved Barca. We have a history there. Off the pitch it is like nowhere else in Europe, so we are always happy playing there."

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