Former Rangers manager Alex McLeish says he tried to bring Barcelona stars Pep Guardiola and Andrés Iniesta to Ibrox in the early 2000s, as quoted by Rangers.co.uk.
Big Eck enjoyed an extremely successful five years in charge of the Gers between 2001 and 2006, with the club winning seven major trophies in that time.
He had a dressing room filled with international players and recently named Dado Prso as his best ever signing.
However, he has claimed during a Q+A for RYDC that he also made audacious attempts to sign two Barcelona stars during his time at the helm.
“We dabbled with Pep Guardiola before he left Barcelona to move to Italian team Brescia,” said McLeish, as quoted by Rangers.co.uk. “We felt we needed a midfielder and had chats with Guardiola’s people. I met him at the Ryder Cup in America a few years ago and mentioned that to him.”
“But Andres Iniesta was the one we really pushed for. That would have been a loan move. We wanted a dominant midfielder and he was it, although he was very young.
“He was flirting with the Barcelona first team and Jan Wouters made some calls to Frank Rijkaard and his assistant. They gave us a wee chink of light but come the weekend he played for Barcelona and played really well. So they told us there was no way they could let him go.”
Former Rangers boss McLeish tried to bring Barcelona stars Guardiola and Iniesta to Ibrox – Verdict
Ronald de Boer moved to Rangers from Barcelona in 2000, so it wouldn’t have been the first time the Gers had brought in a high-quality player from La Liga.
However, Guardiola was a veritable Barça legend by the time McLeish was lining him up. The tenacious midfielder won six league titles and a European Cup across a decade at the club before leaving for Brescia in 2001.
Meanwhile, Iniesta was only just beginning his career at the Camp Nou but he would go on to even greater things as a player.
The 36-year-old, who is still playing with Vissel Kobe in Japan, won a remarkable nine La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues during his time in Catalunya, while he also scored the winning goal for Spain in the World Cup final in 2010.
It’s remarkable to think that he could have worn the Rangers shirt if McLeish had got his way.