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By ESPN Staff
Jan 3, 2007

Barcelona 'turned Ronaldo down' in the summer

Cristiano Ronaldo's agent claims he offered the Portuguese star's services to reigning European and Primera Liga champions Barcelona prior to last year's World Cup.

Jorge Mendes made the admission in Spanish daily sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday, but said Barca turned the offer down as they were planning a swoop for Arsenal striker Thierry Henry.

The agent added it is now highly unlikely the 21-year-old will leave Manchester United after turning in a series of scintillating performances this season.

Mendes said: 'At this time it is impossible that he can go there (Barcelona) because Manchester would never let him leave, not for all the money in the world.

'He is happy in the Premiership and he will not put pressure to force a departure.

'I did offer the player to Barcelona some time ago (April-May 2006) but Barca turned him down because they told me they were considering signing Henry.'

Ronaldo joined United from Sporting Lisbon in August 2003 and was strongly linked with a move away from Old Trafford at the start of the current Premiership campaign.