Isco has confirmed Barcelona made an approach to lure him away from Real Madrid before he decided to commit his long-term future to the Santiago Bernabeu by putting pen to paper on a new deal.
The 25-year-old’s future with the Champions League holders was under question during the last two summer transfer windows after the Spaniard saw his playing time restricted by Zinedine Zidane.
In the summer of 2016 it was said that Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino tried to take advantage of the situation to lure him to the Premier League.
Isco eventually remained at Real but his future came under bigger scrutiny during the first part of last season as the player grew frustrated with the lack of playing time. And in February, Isco himself admitted that he could consider leaving Los Blancos if the situation remained unchanged.
Marca then said the Spanish maestro was determined to move somewhere else in the summer – with Manchester City in pole position to secure his services ahead of Chelsea, Juventus, and Barcelona.
Isco’s previous deal was set to expire in the summer of 2018 so reports suggested that Real were also ready to negotiate his departure in order to avoid losing him for free.
Catalan radio station RAC 1 added more fuel to the saga after claiming that Barcelona offered the Spaniard a signing bonus of €20m to turn down a new deal at Real and move to the Nou Camp as a free agent once his contract expires.
Mundo Deportivo suggested the shocking move was possible amid suggestions that Isco was a Barcelona fan before moving to Real in 2013 – and eventually has a pet dog named after Lionel Messi.
In April, Isco took to social media to rule out such a move, playing down the concerns of Real fans after he accidentally posted a picture on Instagram with a packet of Barcelona crisps.
The Spanish international managed to turn around his situation at Real during the second part of last season and in August AS reported that the player had decided to agree a new long-term deal worth €6m-a-year (£5.5m, £7.2m) and with a €700m release clause.
Isco has now confirmed that Barcelona tried to temp him to snub the new deal during a press conference held on Friday after Los Blancos made the agreement official.
Questioned whether Barcelona tried to sign him when his future at the club was uncertain, Isco confirmed: “It is true that maybe there was some contact but I was clear. I never heard anything. My intention was to succeed here, in the team that put their trust in me when I was at Malaga. The target now is to continue improving, consolidating as a starter and winning many more titles”.
“The truth is that I never thought about leaving. As I said, my idea was to succeed at Real Madrid. I’ve had bad times but that makes me savour the good moments. Three Champions Leagues in 4 years is historic. I still have the hunger that the team has to continue winning titles,
“Real Madrid is the biggest club in history. Everyone wants to play for Real Madrid and I’m lucky to do it with the best in the world. Madrid have allowed me to fulfil many dreams that I had since I was a kid, like winning the Champions League and playing with the national team…It’s the biggest club in the history of the game.”