Rio Ferdinand reveals he was ‘close’ to Barcelona move in 2008


‘It came close, there were discussions with my agent. I spoke to Rijkaard and he made his feelings known in the tunnel after the game’: Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand reveals Barcelona wanted to sign him in 2008

  • Rio Ferdinand was approached by Frank Rijkaard at the Nou Camp in 2008
  • Manchester United legend said he was reluctant to move to a team in transition
  • Rijkaard left Barcelona that summer and was replaced by Pep Guardiola 

Rio Ferdinand has revealed he came close to joining Barcelona in 2008, but did not want to leave Manchester United for a team in transition.

The United legend claims he was approached by then manager Frank Rijkaard in the tunnel after a Champions League semi-final stalemate at the Nou Camp.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side went on to beat Barca in the second leg at Old Trafford before beating Chelsea in the final in Moscow. 

Rio Ferdinand has revealed he was close to joining Barcelona from Manchester United in 2008

He 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. 

Ferdinand holds off Samuel Eto’o in a Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp

Ferdinand embraces Eto’o at full time after a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their semi-final

‘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.’

Barca went on to appoint Pep Guardiola that summer and got their revenge on United 12 months later, beating them 2-0 in the final in Rome.

Guardiola’s side won the treble that season and went on to beat United again two years later at Wembley. 

Ferdinand claims he spoke to Frank Rijkaard in the tunnel after the first leg in Barcelona

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