Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric admits it is flattering to know that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him to become a Manchester United player.
The Croatia international joined Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2012 for around £33m, but the Red Devils were one of several clubs keen to challenge the Spanish giants for his signature.
"Ancelotti wanted me already," Modric told Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. "One year ago at PSG and in 2011 at Chelsea. But then Andre Villas-Boas came and Tottenham did not want to give me up.
"I also knew of the interest of the United and even if the transfer did not materialise, the public appreciation of a great like Sir Alex is a big pride for me."
Ferguson admits in his recently-released second autobiography that United were reluctant to go for Modric after frustrating negotiations with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in 2008, when Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov swapped White Hart Lane for Old Trafford following a lengthy transfer saga.
Ferguson, who retired from football management at the end of last season, was a keen admirer of the diminutive midfielder. Indeed, in March 2012, the Scot even compared Modric to one of his favourite players, Paul Scholes.
"Scholes and Modric are both intelligent footballers," Ferguson told reporters. "They both influence their teams as well so it is a reasonable comparison. I don't think they are identical players but they have the same qualities in terms of controlling a game.
"Their passing consistency is good and the one thing people underestimate about Modric is that he has terrific stamina."
Modric endured a difficult first four months at the Bernabeu before transforming his reputation in Spain with a series of excellent performances.
He is now considered one of the club's most important players.