Wayne Rooney has opened up on how close he came to moving to Spain when his time at Manchester United looked all but over in 2010.
Rooney rocked United by handing in a transfer request in 2010 and was ready to leave Old Trafford, alerting Premier League rivals and Europe’s elite.
And Rooney has admitted that, for a couple of days at least, he was looking at Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona setup and imagining how he would fit in the side.
‘In my head, at the time, in that two-day period, I was ready to go and play in Spain,’ Rooney told the United podcast. ‘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.
‘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.’
Rooney admitted that in terms of Premier League rivals, Chelsea and Manchester City were leading the chase for his signature.
‘I think it was well documented that Chelsea and Mourinho wanted to sign me,’ Rooney said.
‘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.’
As it was, Rooney decided to remain at United. He stayed there until 2017, when he rejoined his boyhood club Everton.
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