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AS.com | 22/01/2013
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave a revealing interview to radio programme 'Al Primer Toque' on Monday night in which he explained that he was given the option of signing Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo, and of hiring José Mourinho as coach after Frank Rijkaard was sacked.
The Catalan explained that AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi wanted to arrange a swap deal that would have meant Ronaldinho going to the San Siro and Kaká going the other way.
"He suggested it to me when we were having lunch one day, half in jest, half seriously, just to see if we were interested. At the time there was no chance of it happening because "Ronnie" was our darling, our joy."
Kaká joined Real Madrid instead a few years later in 2009, and has not had a successful three and a half years at the Bernabéu.
"It's a shame because he arrived with a halo round his head, with the promise that he was going to be a reference point for Madrid, but it hasn't worked out, despite him being an excellent footballer."
Laporta also explained that Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes offered Cristiano Ronaldo to Barcelona before he signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2003.
"Mendes offered him to us for even less than Manchester United paid for him, because we had worked with him before in transfers, but after signing Rafa Márquez, Ronaldinho and Ricardo Quaresma, we didn't have the money."
Laporta was heavily involved in the process of hiring Pep Guardiola as Barcelona coach in the summer of 2008, and admitted that there was the possibility of José Mourinho getting the job, but that Pepe was always his preferred choice.
"Public opinion was in favour of Mourinho but me and our coaches always wanted Pep, who was the coach of Barça B and was ready to make the jump. Jorge Mendes called me to ask about Mourinho and I told him we were going for the Pep option. It was difficult to replace Rikjaard and we thought Pep was the ideal person. It was the best decision I took as president."