Former Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso has revealed how he nearly joined Barcelona earlier in his career, before moving to the Bernabeu.

The current Bayern Munich midfielder will return to Madrid on Tuesday with the German champions, who trail 2-1 from the first leg, but his career could have taken a very different path.

"It was the summer that Liverpool wanted to sell me, and there was a conversation between Rafa [Benitez] and Pep [Guardiola]," Alonso told El Pais.

"Pep told me about it in Germany. He told Rafa that he liked me a lot and I would fit very well with his way of playing, but Busquets had started in the first team and had tremendous potential. So Pep opted for him, and he was not mistaken. He turned into a great player for them.

"It was not that I was uncomfortable at Madrid, but I had been there five years and after winning La Decima I wanted to try something else," he continued.

"Of course returning will affect me, it will be very emotional. I don't know how I will manage it. I still remember when we visited Old Trafford [in 2013]. Cristiano returned to Manchester and he was overcome, stunned. It was a world-class reception. It will be my goodbye to fans who I respect and who always showed me the same respect."

Tags Bayern Munich Xabi Alonso