Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has revealed that when he was a youth player, he turned down the chance to join Real Madrid to remain at his boyhood club.
Koke has emerged as one of the next great midfielders in world football, with clubs like Chelsea being linked with the 23-year-old by sources such as the London Evening Standard, but one club in particular tried to sign the Spanish international as a youth player, but were rejected by the life-long Colchonero.
In a recent interview with Cadena SER's 'El Larguero' programme, Koke spoke about his evolution from bit player to an irreplacable cog in Diego Simeone's Atletico machine.
"Manzano came, as did really good players and it was very difficult to play," he said. "I needed to play and I needed minutes. There was a change of manager, he told me what he planned to do, the coach had faith in me and told me to take advantage of every chance I got."
Koke then dropped a bombshell, stating that Real Madrid came to him with an offer when he was a youth player, but he remained loyal to his club and has since seen more success that if he'd joined Real Madrid.
"I was young and there was an offer from Real Madrid; it was interesting but I stayed true to my boyhood club and remained here. It was Michel, I was a 'cadete' and in the end we talked about things."
Koke then spoke about his first day with the Spanish national team, on a direct flight from Spain to Ecuador with the World Cup champions.
"We left on a direct flight to Ecuador for a friendly. I had the World Cup champions sitting right beside me...I was freaking out."
Koke has gone on to become a vital part of Del Bosque's new-generation Spanish national team and will likely get the starting nod for this Friday's match against the Ukraine in Sevilla.