Brazilian centre-back David Luiz had an informal offer from Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti before he chose to return to Brazil with Flamengo.
Luiz hit the free agent market this summer when his contract with Arsenal expired, and after links to the likes of Benfica and Turkish side Adana Demirspor, the 34-year-old ultimately decided to head back to his homeland and join Flamengo.
It was a low-profile move from Luiz, but he could have gone for something so much bigger as Globo Esporte claim that the Brazilian defender actually spoke to Ancelotti about a possible move to Madrid instead.
It was Ancelotti who made the first move, reaching out to Luiz to see whether he would be interested in a switch to Real. The boss lost both Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane this summer and was keen on a reunion with Luiz, whom he coached at Chelsea.
The problem for Real, however, was a lack of non-EU spots in their squad. La Liga sides are only allowed three players from outside the European Union in their squad, but at the Santiago Bernabeu, those spots belong to Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Eder Militao.
Ancelotti knew that and made that clear to Luiz, but it is claimed that the boss suggested a spot could have opened up for him if he was prepared to wait and take the risk.
Ultimately, Luiz declined to hold on and eventually put pen to paper on a move to Flamengo, signing an 18-month contract.
“I had a few different options where I could have chosen a quieter life, more peaceful, but I like to do what I feel in my heart,” Luiz said during his presentation at Flamengo. “I returned to what God has made a purpose in my life and what I feel in my heart.”
Alongside Real and Flamengo, Luiz had no shortage of offers. Everton, West Ham, Benfica, Lazio, Marseille, Lille and Al-Rayyan were all keen, but it was former employers Benfica who pushed hardest until the last minute.