Ex-Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink revealed how agonisingly close he was to making the move from Chelsea to Barcelona in 2003
Back then, Chelsea were in financial difficulty and were prepared to sell Hasselbaink in order to raise some badly needed capital.
This alerted then-Barcelona boss Louis van Gaal, who was keen to sign his fellow Dutchman in order to provide competition for Patrick Kluivert, with a fee soon agreed on for Hasselbaink’s sale.
Despite getting injured against Manchester United shortly afterwards, Hasselbaink’s move to Camp Nou ultimately fell apart due to Van Gaal’s dismissal.
“There was a fee agreed. Louis van Gaal was at Barcelona, he wanted me there. He wanted competition for Patrick Kluivert.” Hasselbaink told Sky Sports.
“I think the transfer between the clubs was agreed on the Friday. We played Man United (at the weekend).
“(Claudio) Ranieri asked me ‘do you want to play?’ Because he already knew. I wanted to play the last game and then move on.”
“I got kicked on my ankle by Phil Neville and I had to come off. My ankle was really swollen but it wouldn’t have stopped the deal.
“What happened, Valencia won against Barcelona – I think 3-1 or something – and the next morning Van Gaal was sacked, and the deal was off.”
Although the former Netherlands international insists he has no regrets over the failed transfer to Barcelona.
“I was at a magnificent club. I was loved. I really had a good time. The club wanted to sell me because they needed to raise money,” Hasselbaink said.
“Obviously Barcelona is a magnificent club but the transition when it didn’t go through was fairly easy. It was just not meant to be.”
“You can look at it in different ways. I always try to take the positive out of it.”
Hasselbaink scored 81 goals in 169 appearances for Chelsea between 2000 to 2004 and won the FA Charity Shield at Stamford Bridge.
The 46-year-old also played for Atletico Madrid, where he found the net 33 times in 43 games, before retiring in 2008 at Cardiff City and taking up coaching.