Montpellier full-back Henri Bedimo admits he was surprised former team-mate Raphael Varane did not join Manchester United last summer.
The 18-year-old central defender was previously linked with a move to Old Trafford after impressing with Lens in Ligue 1, with a deal thought to be in the offing after the Red Devils lodged a bid.
However, Varane instead joined Real last June in a deal thought to be worth around €10million (£8.3m) after the Primera Liga giants beat off reported competition from United, Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain.
Despite his young age, the France Under-21 international has notched up 12 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos this season, scoring one La Liga goal.
Bedimo, who played alongside Varane at Lens before joining Montpellier last summer, says he always knew the teenager would join a high-profile club but thought that it would be United.
He told France Football: "I rather thought he would go to Manchester United. But anyway, I knew he would join a very big club.
"He has already shown he was right (to move). He plays at Madrid, and at his age that means a lot.
"I believe he can become an international player. He brings some freshness."