The South American was a revelation in Catalunya across one solitary campaign.
His star was rising to the very top of the game and a big-spending outfit in Italy ensured that it would be they who benefited from any future progression.
Former Barca president Joan Gaspert told Goal back in 2018 that it was not his intention to offload Ronaldo at that time, but his hand was forced by a world record offer of £19.5 million ($27m).
That story has now been backed up, with the man himself admitting that he would have liked to spend more time with the Blaugrana.
Ronaldo told DAZN Italy: “I’d signed a contract renewal at the end of the season and I went away with the Brazil national team.
“Five days later, they called me to tell me that I couldn’t continue with the renewal.
“It was never in my hands. I wanted to stay.
“If the club didn’t value me as I thought they should, then the decision wasn’t in my hands. I would have liked to have stayed, but it wasn’t up to me.”
Those Ronaldo left behind at Barca were sad to see him go, with Miguel Angel Nadal of the opinion that an emerging talent could have “defined an era” for the Liga giants.
He said: “I think that he would have defined an era at Barcelona because of his style, because of how that city is. It was a pity.”
Iconic full-back Albert Ferrer added: “I don’t know exactly what the causes were, whether it was something personal or not, but it’s true that within the squad it was a little strange when we were told he wasn’t going to be with us, because his performances that year were spectacular.”
In a frustrating twist of fate not lost on those at Camp Nou, Ronaldo would go on to spend the most productive spell of his career at Real Madrid.
The Blancos snapped him up from Inter in 2002 and added him to the star-studded ‘Galacticos’ squad assembled by Florentino Perez.
Despite his previous ties to Barca, the two-time World Cup winner thoroughly enjoyed a stint at Santiago Bernabeu which delivered 104 goals in 177 appearances.
Ronaldo said of his time with Real: “I played alongside Roberto Carlos for Brazil, and he would tell me about all that Madrid represented, and what he experienced there. That stuck in my mind, and after a few years I wanted to see it with my own eyes.
“I came to Madrid and it was even greater than what Roberto had told me, bigger than I could imagine. It’s Real Madrid. There is great expectation and great pressure. There are also, of course, the best players in the world.
“I was delighted to find out that it was such a huge club, and that I could help the club to be even greater.
“There was a lot of expectation about that group of ‘Galacticos’. In the end we provided a lot of showmanship, were a winning generation, and changed the way of doing business in football.
“Since then, every club has generated more money and sold their players better. That was the big change in a new era of football.
“However, I can’t tell you which version of me was the best. I enjoyed all of them, of course.
“I love playing football and I love football. I think that’s more a question for the fans. I tried to be the best I could be throughout my entire career.”