Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was a potential target for Real Madrid as a teenager, according to agent Paul Stretford.
The England captain enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence whilst at Everton, joining the club as a nine-year-old before breaking numerous goalscoring records on the way to the first team.
And, it was whilst on that journey that European giants like Real Madrid and Inter Milan began to show an interest, with both clubs coming to watch the prodigy during youth matches on Merseyside.
“Wayne, when he was a young lad, was a raw, natural talent," said Stretford at the Leaders in Sport conference.
Madrid & Milan scouts
"So much so that Real Madrid and Milan were regularly visiting for youth games. He was known globally as to what his potential ability would be. And he played off the cuff."
Rooney broke into the Everton first team in 2002, but moved to Manchester United two years later for £25.6million. In the ten-and-a-bit years that have followed, he's gone on to score 219 goals in all competitions for the club.
It was Sir Alex Ferguson who brought the player to Old Trafford, but things haven't gone quite according to plan since his exit, with David Moyes failing to survive a season before Louis van Gaal's appointment this summer.
He's given Rooney the captain's armband for the Red Devils, suggesting the Dutchman sees the striker as an important part of the future for the club.
However, things might have been very different had Real Madrid decided to act on their interest all those years ago. Their loss has been the gain of Manchester United.
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