Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos has revealed that during a difficult first season at the Santiago Bernabeu, he was very keen on returning to former club Real Betis last January.
After signing for Los Blancos in a €18m deal in the summer of 2017, Ceballos struggled to break through into Zinedine Zidane's first-team plans.
With the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco all above him in the pecking order in his preferred central midfield role, Ceballos has revealed that he had thoughts of going back to the Estadio Benito Villamarin, but was eventually denied a move by Zidane.
In an interview with El Chiringuito de Mega (as quoted by Marca), the Spain international revealed: "I thought that with Zidane I would enter the rotations, but no, it was very clear from the beginning with me when I looked at the players ahead of me.
"In January I thought about going out and I tried to return to Betis. But it could not be. Having three competitions, Zidane told me it was time to stay, he was the one who said I would stay."
Despite featuring more than a hundred times for Betis, the 22-year-old also expressed his hurt over the harsh reception he receives from his former side's fans, after leaving the club for Madrid.
He admitted: "Everybody thinks I went out the back door but this is really false. Whenever I go to Villamarin and they whistle at me, it hurts me.
"I think in that four years, I gave everything for the team. I was the third most expensive sale in the history of Betis and, nevertheless, I think that they do not recognise me."
Ceballos finds himself in Luis Enrique's Spain squad for their upcoming international games as La Roja take on Croatia in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday, before rounding off with a game against Bosnia on the weekend