David de Gea has conceded he was reduced to tears after learning Manchester United had agreed to sign him from Atletico Madrid, with the goalkeeper having been overcome with emotion at the prospect of leaving his boyhood club.
De Gea joined Manchester United in the summer transfer window of 2011, with the £17.8 million paid a record British fee for the acquisition of a goalkeeper, but the Spaniard admits he was not entirely comfortable with the proposed departure from Atletico.
Then then 20-year-old had spent a decade on the books of Atletico, the team he had always supported, and a change of country and club represented a daunting prospect. It is little wonder, then, that he felt so uneasy about joining Manchester United, although De Gea is content that he made the right choice.
“Yes. I had spent the whole of my life at one club and it was difficult for me to leave,” De Gea told AS. “But joining Manchester United was a step I had to take, and I know I made the right decision.”
After completing his transfer to Old Trafford, De Gea endured something of a shaky start as his credentials were placed under greater scrutiny than ever before. But, of course, much of this can be owed the difficulties he encountered settling into his new life.
One of Europe's best
De Gea has, though, now fully adapted to life in England and the Premier League and has established himself among the elite goalkeepers in European football. He was able to earn a place in the PFA team of the year in 2012/13. Quite an accolade for the youngster.
There have also been links with a return to Spanish football, most notably after playing a starring hand against Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu. Barcelona have been credited with interest in De Gea, too.
It would appear, however, he is content with life at Manchester United, with his performances for the club earning De Gea a place in Spain’s final 23-man squad for the World Cup, alongside Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina.