Liverpool’s Steve McManaman infamously left the club in 1999, joining Real Madrid on a free transfer, but it turns out that he could have signed for their bitter rivals Barcelona instead.
Then Barcelona president Josep Lluís Núñez was a huge admirer of talented Englishman and was trying his best to secure his services.
If he’d have left in 1996, Liverpool would have received a hefty transfer fee, but we were not interested in doing business, says the player who scored 66 goals for us in total.
“In 1996 they [Barcelona] made an offer to Liverpool and they rejected it. We talked by phone, but nothing more than that,” McManaman said ahead of the first El Clasico of the season this weekend (via Sport Witness).
The winger was synonymous with Roy Evans’ ‘entertainers’ of the mid-1990s, which included the likes of Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore, but we never managed to secure the Premier League title their talents at times threatened to.
The Englishman won two titles in Spain and two Champions League titles to boot, so it’d be difficult to question his motive to leave, although we’d rather he’d done it while under contract so we got some money.