Paris Saint-Germain star and Barcelona legend Dani Alves has revealed that he was '95 per cent close to signing with Real Madrid' before a deal with the Spanish giants fell through at the last minute.
Alves, now 36, was one of European football's most sought after players when he broke through at Sevilla, having arrived in Andalusia as a €550k full-back from Brazilian side Esporte Clube Bahia.
He spent a total of five years with Sevilla before joining Barcelona in 2008, but Alves has revealed that he was on the brink of joining Real Madrid before 'fate got in the way' and he went on to make history in Catalonia.
"I'll be honest with you, I was 95 per cent close to signing with Real Madrid. However, [former Sevilla president Jose Maria] Del Nido is a very tough dude," Alves told ESPN.
"Chelsea also got involved [in talks] and they started to play along. He dealt with one side and he told them that the other team was willing to pay even more money than them. Then I had to make a decision and in the end, I stayed with Sevilla.
"I was very close to signing with Real Madrid, but fate got in the way. It said that my history was going to be made with Barcelona, as I had dreamed as a kid. And you have to make dreams come true, instead of nightmares.
"I'm grateful that I was able to avoid going to Madrid and, obviously, signing with Barça. Real was a winning side and I wasn't going to go there in order to keep the status quo.
"It was more exciting for me to build what we did in Barcelona. We had to change history and so we did. In Madrid, it would have been a case of adding pages to a book they had already written. Instead, with Barça, it was a different thing."
Alves later explained that Chelsea came in for his signature once again not too long after their first approach, with Liverpool also showing an interest, but by that point, he was already committed to joining Barcelona some five years after first arriving in Spain.