Lyon's Real Madrid-bound striker Karim Benzema has revealed he turned down the chance to join Manchester United and a host of European giants.
The France international was thought to be high on Sir Alex Ferguson's wanted list following the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.
However, despite being heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford it was big-spending Real Madrid who agreed a fee with Lyon for the 21-year-old's services.
Benzema has confirmed he could have joined the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Inter Milan or AC Milan, but only wanted to play alongside the likes of Kaka and Ronaldo at El Santiago Bernabeu.
"When I started to play football I had a lot of dreams. The first was to become a professional footballer. The second to play for the French team. The third was to wear the Real Madrid shirt.
"Indeed, I could have joined Manchester United, Barcelona, Internazionale or AC Milan, but Real are unique. Everyone is dreaming to play at Real.
"I really wanted to stay at Lyon until the next World Cup. The opportunity to play with stars like Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and so many great players, made me change my mind."
Benzema, who is now relishing the prospect of making his debut for the Spanish giants, says the visit of Florentino Perez to his house played a major role in his decision to join.
"Real are a kid's dream. Florentino Perez came to my house at Bron. That was important," he continued. "He can speak French and I understood he absolutely wanted me. I could only have left for Real. It was my dream, that's all.
"I am eager to be at the training-sessions, wear that shirt, and play the first league match. I know I will join a new world.
"Why shouldn't I play each match? I want to make a name for myself as quickly as possible."