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'They told us he didn't have to play on Saturdays': How Rangers tried to tempt Ronaldo from Barca to Glasgow

We’re sure it was a real wrench for him to go to Inter instead.

Brazil great Ronaldo
Brazil great Ronaldo
Image: Stuart Franklin

BRAZIL GREAT RONALDO almost took up an “incredible” offer to join Rangers when he left Barcelona in 1997.

The striker was a target for the Scottish giants, Lazio and Inter, with the great Brazilian eventually moving to Italy on a world record transfer fee of £19.5 million Barcelona.

Ronaldo scored 34 league goals in 37 matches for Barca, winning the Fifa World Player of the Year Award, but was unable to come to a new agreement and was to be allowed leave to any club willing to pay the remaining £20 million of his contract.

His agent, Giovanni Branchini, recalled the offer his client received from Rangers, who ended up finishing second to Celtic that season.

“The clause in his contract was a novelty at the time and it scared a lot of clubs off,” he said.

“The three who were really interested were Inter, Lazio and Glasgow Rangers, who followed negotiations all the way.

“The offer from Glasgow Rangers was incredible.

They told us he didn’t have to play on a Saturday in the Scottish league. They were desperate to win the Champions League and were going to allow him to play in the European matches only.

“But Inter had followed him from when he used to play in Brazil. Barcelona reneged on a new contract and Inter were the first club to meet the release clause, so he went there.”

Ronaldo spent five seasons at Inter before moving to Real Madrid, while he went on to win a second World Cup with Brazil in 2002.

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