Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has claimed that seven top European clubs were interested in signing him in 2009, yet he decided to stay at the German giants.
The Frenchman arrived two years earlier from Marseille for 25 million euros and, although the Bundesliga side received offers for between 60 and 80 million euros, Bayern president Uli Hoeness turned them down.
“It was crazy as seven elite teams wanted me, including Juventus, Inter, [AC] Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United,” Ribery told Sport Bild.
“Many ideas went through my head as it was not easy.
“You know what Uli Hoeness told me? Barcelona have [Lionel] Messi, Madrid have [Cristiano] Ronaldo and we have you.
“It was one of the best decisions of my life to stay at Bayern as what happened next is better than I could have ever hoped for. I have to thank Uli Hoeness and my agent Alain Migliaccio once again.
“Uli Hoeness told me: ‘You came when we didn’t even qualify for the Champions League; we grew up together.'”
Ribery returned from his last injury to score a goal in a 3-1 win against Hannover on May 4 at the Allianz Arena, however he celebrated with a certain sense of melancholy.
“The problem was that I realised that everything would end soon,” he added.
“The fans in Munich would no longer celebrate with me at the stadium.
“I wanted to celebrate but it hurt.”