Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has revealed that Ronaldo De Lima was keen to stay at the club prior to his blockbuster move to Inter, but decided on a transfer while Blaugrana officials were out celebrating his contract renewal at dinner.
The Brazilian has gone down in history as one of the finest players ever to star at Camp Nou, despite spending just a single season with the Catalan club.
In the 1996-97 campaign, Ronaldo smashed an incredible 47 goals in 49 games in all competitions, making himself an instant favourite with fans following his move from PSV in the summer of 1996.
Fast forward one year and Barcelona’s board were looking forward to extending his stay, only to see Inter jump in with a world record bid of £19.5 million ($27 million) to take him to San Siro.
According to Gaspart, the news took everyone involved by surprise.
“Ronaldo wanted to stay at Barcelona, he was happy and his wish was to renew,” the former chief, vice-president at that time, explained to Goal, “We had even typed out the contract in front of the player himself and his two agents.”