Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed the club almost signed Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 before he joined Manchester United.
Laporta was president of the club between 2003 and 2010 and claims he could have captured the Portugal star in his maiden year at the helm of the club.
"We had signed Ronaldinho, [Rafael] Marquez and [Ricardo] Quaresma," Laporta told Marca.
"We were in a process of reconstruction throughout the whole club. [Ronaldo] was at Sporting at the time, before Manchester United, and we were speaking with his agent who wanted to sell us Deco.
"We said that we couldn't because we weren't able to [spend that much at the time], so he told us he had another really good kid.
"It was Ronaldo. He had a deal with United for €19 million, but we were offered him for €17m."
The Catalan giants failed to follow up on the offer, signing Deco the following summer, and Ronaldo ultimately joined fierce La Liga rivals Real Madrid in 2009.
Despite this, Laporta asserts that the best player in the game's history is not Ronaldo but rather a figure who emerged from the club's own ranks in Lionel Messi.
"I think [Lionel Messi] is the best player in the history of football," he added ahead of this weekend's Clasico at Camp Nou.
"There are others with great quality, but Leo is above the rest. He has natural talent, goals, he's a leader... he has it all. And on top of that, he's humble with it."