Patrick Vieira had the chance to play for Real Madrid, but he has no regrets at turning the Spanish giants down.
Arsenal legend and current Manchester City reserve squad coach Patrick Vieira admitted that he once came very close to joining Real Madrid before the deal ultimately fell through.
In an interview with Fiebre Maldini on Canal Plus, Vieira first spoke about how winning the World Cup with France in 1998 changed everything for him.
“Winning the World Cup in 1998 was one of the most important moments in my career," he said. "It wasn’t just a footballing accomplishment, but for all of France, it showed our own identity. The team was made up of Zidane, an Algerian; Thuram and myself, Desailly. The image of that team was nothing more than the reality of France itself.”
Vieira went on to praise Spanish international David Silva, stating the Canarian is his favourite player.
“I’m a big fan of Silva, he makes everything seem easy. He’s a great example for all the young players, he’s very approachable, a very good person and this is what makes him such a great example for all of the players in the youth system.”
The “Invincible” then revealed that he had the opportunity to join Real Madrid but the deal fell through, but that hasn’t stopped him from remaining a massive fan of the club.
“I had a great opportunity to play in Spain, but it didn’t happen in the end. I think that in football, sometimes you need to make decisions and when you look back…that’s what happened.
"Sometimes, you need to put everything on the table and make a decision and I’m happy with the choice I made. Real Madrid was a massive club, but I decided not to join them, although I still remain a fan of Real Madrid and Spanish football.”
Vieira played in France, Italy and England in a stellar career that saw the Dakar-born midfielder win the Premier League three times and Serie A on five occasions.
Before signing for a contract renewal with Arsenal in 2003, there were widespread rumours that Real Madrid were ready to fight Manchester United and Chelsea for Vieira's signature, but he opted to sign a contract renewal with the Gunners instead.
Real president Florentino Perez openly stated his desire to sign Vieira in 2004, stating that he believed the Arsenal man was 'the best in the world in his position', as quoted by the BBC, but he could never land his man.