- Former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson has revealed how he was tricked into the move by Ronaldinho
- Kleberson could never really adjust to life at Old Trafford and made only 20 appearances during his two-year spell at the club
Manchester United recently completed the signing of Brazilian midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk in a deal worth £52.5m but the 25-year-old is not the first name from his country to move to Old Trafford. The first Brazilian player to ever play for the Red Devils was Jose Kleberson Pereira.
Former Manchester United and Brazil midfielder Kleberson has opened the lid on his ill-fated move to Old Trafford and revealed how he was duped into joining the club by the great Ronaldinho, who categorically told him that he was also headed to the Premier League to play under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Kleberson played a key role in Brazil’s victorious run in the 2002 World Cup and subsequently joined Manchester United in the summer of 2003 from Atletico Paranaense in a deal worth £6m. The midfielder, however, struggled to adapt to to English football and made just 20 appearances in the Premier League during the course of his two year stay before being shipped off to Turkish giants Besiktas in 2005.
The Brazilian star, who was famously presented to the media in an unveiling ceremony alongside a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, could never hit the heights that the Portuguese star scaled during his time at the club.
Revealed: How Ronaldinho tricked Kleberson into joining United
In latest Manchester United news, during an interview with ESPN, Kleberson confessed that he decided to move to Old Trafford after his international teammate Ronaldinho confided in him that he would also join, only for that move to fall through at the last moment.
“Ronaldinho told me that he was going to Manchester and he kept telling me ‘come to Manchester’,” Kleberson said.
“I was reluctant about it because I didn’t speak any English and there was nobody at United who spoke Portuguese. He persuaded me to go there. And then he didn’t.”
Kleberson retired in 2017 after playing out the latter part of his career in his native Brazil and the United States of America.
Ronaldinho, as revealed by Kleberson, was indeed very close to joining Manchester United as he was lined up to replace the Real Madrid-bound David Beckham but ended up signing for Spanish giants Barcelona after receiving a last-ditch phone call from from Sandro Rosell, who was about to be elected the club’s president soon after.