Former Benfica star Simao Sabrosa reveals he was 'at the airport' before his proposed move to Liverpool fell through back in 2005.
The Portuguese winger had enjoyed an impressive 2004/05 campaign, scoring 15 league goals from a wide position, and was much-revered around Europe during his time with the Lisbon club.
As a result, then Reds boss Rafael Benitez moved to bring Simao to Anfield following their Champions League success in 2005, but despite much-publicised talks the move never went through.
Over a decade on from the transfer saga, Simao has revealed just how close he actually came to moving to the Premier League.
Speaking to The Express, he said: "I did not sign because, in the last minute, the president of Benfica said no,”
"We had an agreement, I was ready to take the plane to fly to Liverpool.
"I'm at the airport and the president calls me to tell me I have no authorisation to go. I was told to fly back to the national team. I did not know what happened. My agent had called me that day to tell me it was OK, that I was going to Liverpool. But in the end I was told to go back."
Simao only remained at Benfica for one more season, before returning to La Liga to join Atletico Madrid in 2007 for £18m, where he won a Europa League and two UEFA Super Cups during his time in the Spanish capital.
One man frustrated by the collapsed move was Liverpool's chief executive at the time Rick Parry, who like many, believed the deal to sign Simao was complete.
Speaking at the time, as reported by the publication, he said: "Simao was sitting on a plane waiting to come for his medical, but Benfica called it off.
"Had the deal broken down on 30 June, perhaps there wouldn't be such doom and gloom because you know there's time to find someone else. That's not the case on deadline day."