Barcelona new boy Philippe Coutinho has reportedly revealed he could have been lining up on the opposite side of the El Clasico divide had Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane not rejected the chance to sign him two years ago.
The Brazilian has forged a reputation as one of the top creative talents plying his trade in Europe.
And his form during his five-year stint at Liverpool saw him linked with a host of top clubs.
Coutinho was apparently keen to leave Anfield in 2016 because he wasn’t fond of the Premier League.
And the latest reports from Spain suggest he had his agent tout him to clubs in Serie A and La Liga.
Real was supposedly the destination lined up for Coutinho, until Zidane vetoed a deal.
According to Diario Gol, the 25-year-old has confided in his new Barcelona team-mates that Florentino Perez was willing to consider signing him.
And he said the Real president subsequently passed information about the prospective move on to Zidane.
However, Coutinho alleges the Real boss blocked his switch because he did not believe he would suit his team’s tactics.
Coutinho ultimately stayed at Liverpool until last month, when Barcelona snapped him up for £142m.
The playmaker is now on course to win the La Liga title under Ernesto Valverde.
And he helped them into the Copa del Rey final by scoring against Valencia in last night’s semi-final second-leg.