Raphael Varane has revealed he was tempted by an offer to join Jose Mourinho at Manchester United this summer before Zinedine Zidane managed to convince him to stay at Real Madrid.
The 23-year-old originally broke into the Los Blancos first-team with the help of Mourinho, who was part of the management team when he arrived from Lens in 2011.
Since then, his time at the Bernabeu has been marred by a lack of first-team football with Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez both preferring a centre-back pairing of Sergio Ramos and Pepe.
He has continually been linked with a move away as a result and Mourinho has been keen for a reunion. The Special One was originally linked with Varane whilst manager of Chelsea and his interest transferred with him to Old Trafford.
It is now clear that the Frenchman was high on Mourinho's wishlist this summer but the move fell through when he decided to remain under the stewardship of Zidane. Varane admits, however, that turning down the chance to work with Mourinho was far from clear cut.
Speaking of interest from the Premier League club, Varane told Canal+: "Of course it's flattering. Manchester United are a very big club. But from the moment when Madrid and I are in sync on my project, there's no questions to ask yourself.
"I have always said I feel good in Madrid. It's not easy to say 'No' to Jose Mourinho, but you have to weigh up the pros and the cons. We're men, we have decisions to make and that's how it is."
The fact that Zidane remains the head coach appears to have been vital in Varane's decision making. Indeed, it is the legendary midfielder who is widely credited for bringing the centre-back to the club five years ago. Real Madrid were competing with a host of clubs, including Manchester United, but Zidane's influence helped Varane decide.
Now Zidane is in charge of team selection, Varane is set to feature more prominently in the starting XI. His chances are further boosted by the fact that Pepe is 33-years-old but Varane admits it was the trust Zidane has in him that ultimately kept him in a white shirt.
"It was really that trust, that support which was important for me, and when I was reassured on that point, there was no question of it anymore."
Having failed to sign Varane, Manchester United moved onto Eric Bailly, who cost them £30m to sign from Villarreal. While not nearly as reputable, the 22-year-old has started life for the Red Devils in impressive fashion and has already formed a strong partnership with Daley Blind.