FC Bayern Munchen midfielder Xabi Alonso has revealed that he almost joined Pep Guardiola at Barcelona before signing for Real Madrid.
The Spaniard signed for Los Blancos from Liverpool in 2009, and went on to work with Guardiola during their time together at Bayern, but he might have played for Barca were it not for the emergence of Sergio Busquets.
"It happened not long before I left for Real Madrid," Alonso told El Pais. "Liverpool told me that they wanted to sell me, [then manager Rafa] Benitez too, and Pep showed an interest in my situation.
"He wanted to sign me because, as he told Rafa, I was the type of player who would fit his model.
"But he had doubts because Busquets had just come through and had the makings of a tremendous player. Guardiola chose him, and he wasn't proved wrong."
Alonso and FCB manager Carlo Ancelotti will come up against former club Real Madrid on Tuesday for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
The Bavarians have a 2-1 deficit to make up, and need to do more than just equalise on aggregate at Santiago Bernabeu after having conceded two away goals in the first leg.