Speaking to BT Sport, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed he turned down the chance to join Barcelona in 2008.

Frank Rijkaard was in charge of Barcelona and they tried to sign the England international, but he decided to stay on at Old Trafford.

We beat them and were European champions. Why would I leave the European champions to join a team in transition? At that point, Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi weren’t the players they were three or four years later, so it was a very different landscape at that time in Barcelona.”

Rijkaard made it clear to Ferdinand that he was after his services in a brief encounter at the Camp Nou.

It was actually after the game in Barcelona where we drew 0-0, in the tunnel after the game I spoke to Rijkaard. The problem with me going abroad, I always said I definitely wanted to go abroad and play. But the only thing that would ever have stopped me was if I was successful on home shores and I was lucky and fortunate to find a great club in Manchester United where it was going to be almost impossible for me to leave.”