Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez has revealed that twice during his career he has turned down advances from Barcelona.
The 35-year-old joined Madrid from city rivals Atletico Madrid in 1992 as a youth, before going on to spend 16 years in the first team, breaking appearance and goal-scoring records in that time.
However, in talking to World Soccer magazine, the striker, who is now based in Qatar, reflected on Barca’s attempts to sign him.
“There was interest from Barcelona twice, but as a madridista I would not play there,” Raul explained.
“Never. Madrid is my city. I was born there, my family, my brother and my sister, my friends, they are all in Madrid.”
The veteran also revealed that Juventus were another to have tried to sign him in the past.
“Juventus made me an interesting offer three times, but I turned them down as I did not want to move to Turin.”
Raul left Madrid in 2010, just as Jose Mourinho arrived. However, the player reflected that the two events were not linked.
“I made my decision to leave Madrid months before Mourinho signed. Of course I spoke with him and he was very friendly with me,” commented the 35-year-old, who cited Jorge Valdano and Fabio Capello as influential Coaches during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“Valdano and Capello. They are very different as people and Coaches. Capello is serious, the typical Italian Coach who is a total professional. He is a real winner.
“Valdano prefers to speak with the players and was very cordial. He gave me my debut at Real Madrid.”
Raul’s international career ended under Luis Aragones, before Euro 2008’s win and even though former Madrid Coach Vicente del Bosque then came in, the striker did not return.
“It would have been difficult to return to a winning team.
“I had taken my final decision. Del Bosque is a wonderful person and Coach.”