Laporta: Barca could have signed Ronaldo

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Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that the club had the opportunity to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003.

Laporta became Barca president in the same year and started re-shaping the Catalan squad, by signing the likes of Ronaldinho.

Barca were also looking at possibly signing Deco, but didn't have the budget available, which is when agent Jorge Mendes suggested promising young talent Cristiano Ronaldo.

"We had signed Ronaldinho, [Rafael] Marquez and [Ricardo] Quaresma," Laporta said, as reported by Marca.

"We were in a process of reconstruction throughout the whole club. [Ronaldo] was at Sporting at the time, before Manchester United, and we were speaking with his agent who wanted to sell us Deco.

"We said that we couldn't because we weren't able to [spend that much at the time], so he told us he had another really good kid.

"It was Ronaldo. He had a deal with United for €19 million, but we were offered him for €17m."