Former Barcelona advisor Ariedo Braida claimed the LaLiga giants turned down the chance to sign Erling Haaland before his meteoric rise as they felt the Norwegian star did not have the profile to fit in at Camp Nou.
Haaland has quickly emerged as one of the best forwards in football, having rose to stardom at Austrian champions Salzburg before joining Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in January.
The 20-year-old scored 44 goals across all competitions in 2019-20 – 16 of those coming in 18 appearances after a mid-season move from Salzburg to Dortmund.
Haaland already has five Bundesliga goals in as many appearances this term, while he has netted seven across all competitions.
Braida, who was relieved by Barca in 2019, revealed the Catalan powerhouse passed on Haaland during his time at Molde as he hit out the club.
“I was studying players and I wrote down some names like Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, when he was still playing in Norway,” Braida told Marca.
“But at the club they told me no, that he didn’t have the Barcelona profile. I also suggested other players from Italy, like [Nicolo] Barella, who is now at Inter, or [Nicolo] Zaniolo, who plays at Roma.
“But if you don’t have the responsibility to do this because it has been given to others, you can’t do anything. I was isolated.”
Haaland is set to make his 10th Champions League appearance against Zenit on Wednesday.
The Norway international is already guaranteed to have scored more goals than any other player in their first 10 in the competition, with Haaland having netted 11 goals in nine games so far, averaging a goal every 59 minutes.
Braida also discussed Barca’s previous interest in Manchester United and France star Paul Pogba.
Pogba left Serie A champions Juventus and returned to United in 2016, despite Barca’s apparent pursuit.
“It’s not a lie. It is true that Albert Soler and I went to Milan and met with the Juventus board,” Braida said. “But despite the talks, there was no real intention to sign him.
“In fact, Pogba ended up staying that summer in Turin and did not go to another club. I said he was a great player, I was talking about it with Albert Soler, with whom I consider that he had a good personal relationship, but again, professionally we could not work together because I was not allowed.”