French striker Karim Benzema snubbed a move to English giants Manchester United before moving to Real Madrid, claims Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas, as relayed by the Daily Mail.
Benzema left his boyhood club Lyon in 2009 to join Real Madrid in a six-year deal reported to be worth £30million.
The former Lyon man completed Madrid's summer transfer frenzy that year believed to be worth in excess of £180million, which included the likes of Kaka and Xabi Alonso also making their moves to the Spanish capital from AC Milan and Liverpool respectively.
United, who sold Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid in a then world record fee of £80million, were in the market for a genuine goal scorer and had identified Benzema as their prime target.
But Lyon president Aulas revealed that Benzema spurned United's approach and went to Madrid to fulfil his long-term dream of playing in the Santiago Bernabeu.
Speaking to French television Canal+, Aulas said: "For a long time he wanted to play one day at Real Madrid and when operations began to fall into place, we did not object."
Aulas also believes that the challenge and proposal at Real Madrid was superior to that of what United had to offer.
"The proposal was superior to Manchester United's but he was given the opportunity to go where he wanted," he added.
Aulas revealed that he is very happy for Benzema and regards him as the best striker in La Liga and one of the best players in world football. He further went on to say that the criticism Benzema had received early on in his Madrid career are part of the game and the player should go about his job.
"I am very happy for him. This is the best striker in La Liga and one of the best in the world.
"The criticism he has received are part of the life of a professional football player, but we had to be above it all," he said.
Benzema had a very good record with Lyon, scoring 43 goals in 122 games, which made him one of the most sought after young strikers in the world. The France international's all round development at Madrid hasn't got unnoticed either.
The 26-year-old has scored 75 goals in 165 games for the reigning European champions and remains a key figure in the Real side despite the club bringing in world-class players every year.
United meanwhile had a poor season that year, finishing second in the league to Chelsea, who also went on to win the FA Cup. United fans were left disappointed and disgruntled as the club sold their star man Ronaldo and didn't bring in the quality of players that was expected to fill the gaping hole left by the Portuguese.
Antonio Valencia was signed from Wigan Athletic for £16million, Gabriel Obertan from Bordeaux for £3million, Chris Smalling from Fulham for £10million, Mame Biram Diouf from Molde for an undisclosed fee and former England star Michael Owen on a free transfer.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms