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Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand was close to joining Barcelona.

Rio Ferdinand was approached by Frank Rijkaard at the Nou Camp in 2008. [Getty]
Rio Ferdinand was approached by Frank Rijkaard at the Nou Camp in 2008. [Getty]

Rio Ferdinand says he was close to joining LaLiga giants Barcelona back in 2008. The former Leeds and West Ham centre-half says he was approached by then manager Frank Rijkaard at the Nou Camp, but was determined not to leave Old Trafford for a side that was in transition. It was the same year Sir Alex Ferguson's Red Devils knocked Los Cules out of the Champions League and went on to win Europe's elite competition by beating Chelsea in the final. The Manchester United legend told BT Sport: 'It came close. There were discussions with my agent, Barca had touched base. I'd spoken to Riijkard, not about going there but he made his feelings known.

'It was actually after the game in Barcelona where we drew 0-0, in the tunnel after the game I spoke to him. 'The problem with me going abroad, I always said I definitely wanted to go abroad and play, but the only thing that would ever have stopped me was if I was successful on home shores and I was lucky and fortunate to find a great club in Manchester United where it was going to be almost impossible for me to leave. 'We beat them and went on to become European champions, so why would I leave the European champions to go to another team in transition. 'At that point Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, they weren't the players they were three or four years later so it was a very different landscape at that time in Barcelona.'

The Blaugrana sacked Rijkaard that summer and replaced him with Pep Guardiola, who went on to win the treble in his first season at the Barca helm.



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