Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery has revealed that he came close to joining Barcelona in the summer of 2009, reports Goal.com.
The 30-year-old recently put pen to paper on a new long-term contract at the Allianz Arena, extending his stay with the Bundesliga club until 2017, in the hope of ending his career in Germany.
However, Ribery's future could have played out differently, had he caved in to the advances of defender Eric Abidal, who tried to lure the France international to Camp Nou during his time at Barcelona.
"My France team-mate Eric Abidal, who played under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, approached me in 2008-09," Ribery told German newspaper Sport Bild.
"Of course, I did consider joining Barcelona at the time. They had the best team in the world back then. It was not an easy situation.
"I had an ongoing contract with Bayern and I have always respected the club, also because of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness, who are very important to me."
Unbeknown to Ribery, he would later play under Guardiola, after he replaced Jupp Heynckes in charge of last season's treble winners, Bayern Munich.
The reigning Bundesliga champions also claimed the German Cup, and beat domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley in May, in what was a dramatic end to a successful 2012/13 campaign.
Guardiola actually approached Ribery after Barcelona knocked the Bavarians out of Europe's elite club competition in 2008/09, when a potential transfer to Spain was first mentioned.
"I first spoke to Guardiola after our Champions League exit in 2009," he explained. "He approached me after the 1-1 in Munich to congratulate me with my performance and told me I'm the best. That meant a lot to me."