Luka Modric has revealed that his disappointment that former club Dinamo Zagreb blocked a potential move to Chelsea way back at the start 2008, months prior to his move to England with Tottenham Hotspur.
Modric famously sealed a £16.5m move to the Blues' London rivals in the summer of 2008 and made 127 Premier appearances before being snapped up by Real Madrid in 2012, where he has won four Champions League titles and La Liga to date.
Prior to his transfer to the Lilywhites which kick-started a glittering career, however, the Croatian has revealed in his new autobiography that he had his heart set on a career with Chelsea, before the transfer was cancelled at the last minute.
"During the winter break [of the 2007/2008 season], which I spent in Zadar, I got information that Dinamo and Chelsea were practically in agreement," Modric revealed in his book, as reported by Croatian outlet Vercernji List.
"Zdravko Mamic [Dinamo's executive director] flew to London and was convinced that I would be moving to Stamford Bridge in the winter transfer window.
"While I was waiting for a sign with [my wife] Vanja in Zadar, rumours began to emerge that the clubs had failed to agree on the terms of the contract and that the transfer had failed."
These rumours turned out to be true with Dinamo executive director Zdravko Mamić confirming the cancellation of the transfer a few days later. Modric went on to reveal that he was left devastated by the failed move.
The 34-year-old recalls in his book: "After telling the parents the end of the story [of the transfer break down], I left their apartment and in the parking lot in front of the building, while talking to Vanja about it, I broke down. I couldn't hold back my tears."
There is no exact mention in the published quotes as to why the Chelsea deal didn't materialise.
While he was left upset at the failure of the move to Chelsea at the time, things have worked out well for Modric, who also won the Golden Ball at the 2018 World Cup and is the only player to have won the Ballon d'Or other than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since 2007.