James Lawton: Seaman escapes the retribution of Ronaldinho

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The Independent Football

There are several reasons to be disappointed over Manchester United's failure to sign Ronaldinho. The main one is that he is a player of genuine invention and natural brilliance, who would have both graced the Premiership and enhanced United's chances of winning another European Cup.

He might also have brought, at a very late hour, some perspective on the departure of David Beckham. My suspicion is that he would have defined the difference between the considerable talent of a Beckham and an authentic touch of football genius.

There was also the delicious prospect of Ronaldinho peppering David Seaman in Manchester derbies. Seaman, in his time, was a magnificent servant of both Arsenal and England but his behaviour after Ronaldinho's superb free-kick in the World Cup quarter-final remains impossible to purge from the memory. It was embarrassingly self-serving and ungracious, and though Ronaldinho was not guaranteed to achieve retribution, it would have been hugely entertaining to see him try.