There has been some dramatic transfers in football that has shaped the future of a player, or even sometimes a club. However, there were a number of bizarre transfer deals that finally didn’t go through, but if they did, it would have changed the present scene of club football. Such is the case of Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand, who recently revealed that in 2008 he was approached by none other than Spanish heavyweights FC Barcelona!
It was just six years after the English centre back arrived at Old Trafford from Leeds, and under the management of the legendary Sir Alex, Manchester United was on their way to lift the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League trophy.
In the semis, the Red Devils had their face off against Barça, and Ferdinand’s brilliant performance in the away leg at Camp Nou grabbed the attention of Frank Rijkaard, who was the coach of the La Liga heavyweights.
Ferdinand recalled his contacts with Barcelona during a conversation with BT Sport.
“It was after the game in Barcelona, in the tunnel after the game when I spoke to Rijkaard. There is an etiquette but you get the gist of what someone is saying,” the former defender said.
Ferdinand also added that the deal was almost met with completion: “It came close, there were discussions with my agent. Barcelona had touched base.”
However, the Spanish club’s approach didn’t finally go through, and United securing their entries into the CL final that they won against Chelsea was enough reason for Ferdinand for choosing to stay in England.
Ferdinand made 312 appearances for United in his 12 years with the club, and scored 7 times.
He continued: “We beat them and went on to become European Champions so why would I leave them to go to another team?”
Even though Ferdinand made United his permanent home, his teammate Gerard Piqué left the club in the same year to join the Catalans.
However, the 2008-09 season saw Barcelona in the hands of Pep Guardiola, the Spaniard who took the club to the Champions League final, when they defeated United to lift the trophy for the third time.