Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that the club held talks with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema over a fairytale return to the Groupama Stadium last summer.
The French forward has spent the last decade in the Spanish capital following a £31.5m move from Lyon in 2009, where he's gone on to score 214 goals - third on their all-time goalscoring charts - and won 17 major honours for the club.
But Benzema was close to leaving the Santiago Bernabéu last summer as he considered a poetic return to his hometown side.
"It would be beautiful of course, to have him back,” Lyon chief Aulas told Tout Le Sport (via AS). "We talked about it last summer because he was thinking of leaving, but financially we couldn’t make it work. We tried to come up with something with his agent but it didn’t happen."
Real Madrid re-signed striker Mariano Díaz during the summer transfer window but Aulas did not confirm if those negotiations included any discussions about Benzema's potential return.
Even though he didn't get his move back to Lyon, Benzema is actually enjoying his most successful goalscoring season for Los Blancos since the 2015/16 campaign.
Karim Benzema is extremely underrated he’s been at the biggest football club in the world for ten years you can’t wing that he’s absolutely class. Goes under the radar for two reasons Cristiano Ronaldo and the scandal that’s led to him not being selected for France— Simon J Villiers (@sjv_simon) March 9, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo's summer move to Juventus has allowed the former France international striker to step back into the limelight at Real Madrid, although the club's fortunes have taken a nosedive since the Portugal international's departure.
Real Madrid were knocked out in the Champions League in a shock upset against Dutch side Ajax, while they were also dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona and sit 12 points behind the Catalan giants in La Liga.