Ayoze Perez has explained why he snubbed advances from Real Madrid and Barcelona in order to further his development at Newcastle.
Back in 2014, having caught the eye at Tenerife, the Spanish frontman saw doors open across Europe.
The opportunity was presented to him to link up with fierce rivals on either side of the Clasico divide.
Barca and Real were both eager to buy into Perez’s potential, but neither had a clear route to their respective first teams mapped out.
With that in mind, and with regular game time towards the top of his priority list, Perez took the decision to head for England and join the Magpies at St James’ Park.
On a big future call, the 26-year-old told talkSPORT: “The Under-21s of Madrid and Barcelona wanted me but that would mean I was going to play in the second division again. The offers were of Porto, first team, and Newcastle first team as well.
“Obviously, being in a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona is always special but that second team option made me think maybe it wasn’t the right move.
“I was close to moving to Porto, very, very close. Just little details were delaying the move but at that moment Newcastle made a call and were very interested in me.
“They didn’t fight for the little details. I always had the dream of playing in the Premier League so that was the opportunity.”
Perez spent five years with Newcastle, scoring 48 goals in 195, appearances before completing a £30 million ($38m) switch to Leicester in the summer of 2019.
Only seven efforts have been recorded for the Foxes by the big-money signing, but the club are flying high as a collective now that Brendan Rodgers is calling the shots.
Perez added on the former Celtic and Liverpool boss: “He’s a great manager. A very good manager. You can tell because it’s a young squad and he’s getting the best out of it.
“That’s not easy. In terms of football he’s very clever. He knows what he wants and tries to make the squad think we can be a top team. We have the quality but it’s not enough with that we need a mix of everything.
“He’s very close to the players in terms of personal stuff. That’s important in terms of football and the dressing room. It’s that kind of manager that looks after every detail. At the end of the day that matters a lot and that’s very important and that’s why we are doing so well.”