According to Paul Scholes, Manchester United were all ready to unveil Ronaldinho and hand him a squad number when the Brazilian changed his mind at the last minute and headed to Barcelona.

Having helped his country to World Cup glory in 2002, the enigmatic playmaker was a man in demand the following summer, a report being followed by ALSC stated.

An exit door was opened at Paris Saint-Germain, with Sir Alex Ferguson positioning himself at the front of the queue.

The legendary United boss was, however, to be left disappointed, along with certain members of his squad who had been looking forward to working with a man who went on to win two World Player of the Year awards while at Barcelona.

He is not the only star that excited Scholes during transfer talk at Old Trafford, with a collection of tricky wingers capturing his imagination, but Ronaldinho remains the biggest missed opportunity.

The Red Devils icon told BBC Radio 5 Live of those he had hoped to see United sign: “I always remember two or three that were possibly coming – Harry Kewell was one, and you knew what a good player he was. I think he ended up turning us down to go to Liverpool, which didn’t really bother us that much.

“Damien Duff was one at the time as well, Arjen Robben – I think he was very close to coming. As a midfielder you look forward to playing with quick players who can run with the ball and score you goals.

“The one that stands out is Ronaldinho. I can’t remember what year it was but I really think the manager got him.”

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