Former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant claims he was close to a move to Real Madrid before signing for Portsmouth.
The flyer, who failed to net in his 13 appearances for Pompey, says he was being courted by the Spanish giants for a deadline day move - before the plug was pulled by the manager.
By January 2009, Pennant had fallen out of favour at Anfield and was shipped out on a 6 month loan to Fratton Park.
But now the winger has claimed in an interview with FourFourTwo magazine that he could have ended up at the Bernabeu instead of the South Coast.
Pennant claims that the Real Madrid board, who were in search for a right-winger at the time, made a move to bring him to the Spanish capital on deadline day.
But manager Juande Ramos pulled the plug and he instead ended up playing for Portsmouth.
Ramos took over the reins at Real Madrid in December 2008, a couple of month after being sacked as Tottenham Hotspur manager.
He told the magazine: ‘Real Madrid wanted to sign me when Juande Ramos, was in charge there. The board wanted to do the deal as they wanted a right-winger.
“On transfer deadline day I got a call from my agent, saying, ‘You could be going to Madrid – keep your phone on.
‘But the board had gone over the manager's head, so he started to get upset, and to placate him they pulled the plug on the deal.
‘The club wanted me; the manager didn’t.’
Jermaine Pennant played 13 times for Portsmouth, but failed to find the net and became a free-agent in the summer of 2009 – signing for Spanish side Real Zaragoza.
At the time he signed for Pompey, the winger told The News that the move could reignite his career and give him the chance to ‘show what I can do’.