Jerome Boateng has sensationally revealed he turned down the chance to join Barcelona last summer, citing his desire to win the Champions League as reason to reject the Catalan club in favour of staying at Bayern Munich.
The former Manchester City defender has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom since quitting the Etihad Stadium after one solitary season, making over 150 appearances for the reigning Bundesliga champions, who he joined in 2011.
Recruited by former Citizens boss Roberto Mancini in the same transfer window as David Silva, Yaya Toure and Aleksander Kolarov all arrived in England, things didn't work out quite so well for the Germany international, who hotfooted it back to his homeland to take on a new challenge at the Allianz Arena.
In hindsight, Boateng's decision to ditch Manchester City proved to be a stroke of genius. The 26-year-old failed to nail down a regular starting spot in the Premier League, but at Bayern he's gone on to establish himself as one of the most highly-rated central defenders in world football.
Luis Enrique was eager to add the German stopper to his ranks ahead of the 2014/15 campaign following the retirement of Barca skipper Carles Puyol, but ended up signing former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia.
"I do not know the exact details of how much Barcelona offered for me, but it is true that they wanted to sign me," recalled Boateng in an interview with Sport Bild, as cited by Goal.com.
"It's hugely flattering when a club like Barcelona show an interest in signing you. But these days, you no longer leave Bayern Munich for Barcelona when you want to win the Champions League.
"At Bayern, I play for one of the four best clubs in the world. There is no better club for a German player. I would be delighted if I could stay at Bayern for a long time and end my career here after winning many trophies."
The fact Vermaelen is yet to make his competitive debut having spent the entire campaign sidelined by injury means Barcelona must seriously rue Boateng's decision to snub their advances, particularly when just a few years ago he was a fringe player struggling to get a game at Manchester City.
He might not have had the same level of success as the likes of Silva, Toure and Kolarov with the Citizens, but after cementing his place in Pep Guardiola's line-up he's proved his credentials as one of the best around in his position.
Boateng's existing contract still has over three years to run with Bayern, so don't expect to see the player and club part company with each other for quite a while yet. But, given Manchester City's current problems at the back - and the inconsistent form of Vincent Kompany - you can bet that Manuel Pellegrini is looking on with green-eyed envy at what might've been had Mancini not decided to cash-in on the player three-and-a-half years ago.
Manchester City fans: Are you surprised how far Jerome Boateng has come since leaving the Etihad? Did the club make a mistake selling him to Bayern Munich? Share your thoughts below…
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