Seydou Keita says he turned offers from Real Madrid and Juventus in order to sign for Barcelona after giving the Catalan club his word.
The Mali international had been an integral member of Pep Guardiola's squad, helping them to win three successive league titles and the UEFA Champions League twice.
However, it could have been a completely different story had he signed for their arch rivals in Spain from Sevilla in 2008.
"Barcelona had had three complicated years," Keita told L'Equipe. "Many people advised me not to sign for them.
"I had advanced contact with Real Madrid and Juventus and both those clubs were putting pressure to sign me and offered me more money.
"But I had given my word to [then Barca technical secretary] Txiki Begiristain."
Keita has seen first-hand Real Madrid's attempts to beat Barcelona in recent seasons with a mixture of tactics, but the 32-year-old was not prepared to criticise Los Merengues.
"Everyone has their own way of playing," he continued.
"They think that is the best way to beat us and that is that. One could discuss about tricks of the trade but I am not going to criticise anyone."