Liverpool legend Michael Owen has revealed that he cried all the way to the airport before flying to Madrid from England ahead of his Bernabeu move.
The former striker joined Los Blancos in 2004, after a brilliant eight-year spell at Anfield that saw him win the prestigious Ballon d'Or award in 2001.
Michael Owen on Joining Real Madrid: "When Real Madrid asked me to join them in 2004, part of me was flattered and part of me was in turmoil.— The Meringues (@MerengueLos) January 15, 2018
Who wouldn’t want to play with them? But my mind chopped and changed and my thought process was going back and forth." [Daily Mail] pic.twitter.com/9Wcv2hq5RT
"When Real Madrid asked me to join them in 2004, part of me was flattered and part of me was in turmoil," he wrote. "Remember, this was a team with Zinedine Zidane, Raul, David Beckham, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Luis Figo.
"Who wouldn’t want to play with them? But my mind chopped and changed and my thought process was going back and forth.In the end it boiled down to the fact that if I stayed at Liverpool all my career, I could have had an amazing career like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher and could have even won the Champions League, as they did a year later.
"But I would always have thought: ‘What if?’ I would have had that nagging thought at the back of my mind: ‘What would it have been like to speak a new language, try a different culture, play for one of the greatest teams in world football?
"Maybe naively I thought that, like Ian Rush when he left Liverpool for Juventus, I could do a year or two and then come back and, in fact, I almost did.
"I decided I had to go, but even so, I was pretty much crying all the way from my home to the airport. Part of me never wanted to leave."
Coutinho's transition certainly wasn't as difficult as he actually pushed hard for the move and previously spent a year playing in Barcelona, having joined Espanyol on loan in 2012.
"Judging from the photos of Philippe Coutinho en route to Barcelona last week, he didn’t feel quite the same way," Owen added. "It pretty much seemed as though he was in utopia.
"Of course that is the difference for South American players. You have to accept that playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid is the pinnacle of their career. They will have grown up dreaming of those clubs."