Wayne Rooney has revealed he could have joined three elite European clubs after handing in a transfer request at Manchester United in 2010.
Rooney dramatically revealed his intentions to leave Old Trafford a decade ago, citing frustration at lack of ambition the club had shown after recent departures of superstar teammates Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
United’s all-time record goalscorer had looked all set to leave as his relationship with legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson broke down.
But he performed a sensational U-turn just two days after stating his intentions by signing a new five-year contract with the club, as per BBC Sport.
Despite remaining at United and amending his relationship with Ferguson, Rooney was once determined to move elsewhere and saw Spain as an ideal transfer destination.
‘There was Real Madrid, Barcelona and the Man City thing keeps cropping up, but there was never the option for me to go there.
“Although there were rumours on that as well, but the other three, really, were more realistic options.
“In my head, at the time, in that two-day period, I was ready to go and play in Spain.
‘”Ideally, I would have liked to have gone to Barcelona, but it was looking more likely to be Real Madrid than Barcelona. Chelsea were always there as well. ‘
“After a couple of days, I spoke to David Gill again and when there were those protests at my house, I’d actually already agreed to sign the new contract by that time.
“‘I was thinking “Jesus”, it was three o’clock in the morning and I didn’t fancy going out to calm down 20 or 30 lads with their hoods up!”
Rooney has revealed he envisaged playing for Barcelona at the Nou Camp alongside the likes of Xavi, Lionel Messi and Iniesta as he weighed up his next switch.
“I think, at the time, I was looking at clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona,” he added.
‘To be honest, it was two or three days where there was communication between myself and them, or my representatives and team. ‘I remember sitting down for one day and thinking “imagine playing in that Barcelona team – Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets”.
“And at that time Messi wasn’t playing the way he plays now, as a no.9 for instance. He was out wide.
“I was thinking I could have slotted in perfectly. I could have come to the ball as well and have players running in behind.
“I remember thinking about that, but the biggest thing for me was it was sorted out – I had good conversations with David Gill to get it sorted.”
Rooney played for the Reds for seven more years after his dramatic 2010 U-turn, finishing his career with 253 United goals before returning to boyhood club Everton.
He is now pursuing a career in management and is in interim charge of Championship side Derby County.