Bixente Lizarazu has revealed Manchester United saw attempts to sign him blocked after his then club Bayern Munich refused to discuss a deal.
The France left-back was one of the best of his era, winning the World Cup and European Championship with France, before claiming 16 pieces of silverware in Germany.
But his career could have taken a different turn had Sir Alex Ferguson had his way and brought the player to Old Trafford.
“I had the chance, I think in about 2001 or 2002, to go to Manchester United, but it stopped very quickly as Bayern Munich said no,” he told August’s edition of FourFourTwo.
“Alex Ferguson was keen to sign me and United had talks with Bayern, but Bayern said there was no question that I’d be leaving and so I was staying with them. I was very happy in Munich, but Manchester United did try.”
Lizarazu missed the famous 1999 Champions League final against United through injury, in which Ferguson’s side scored twice in the dramatic closing stages to beat the Germans.
“We were the better team in that final,” the left-back said. “I couldn’t do anything apart from go out onto the pitch after the game and help my friends who were crying.
“It was so terrible to see all of my team-mates in that state. That day gave us the power to go and win the Champions League two years later, I’m very sure about it. We took all of the frustration from the 1999 final and then used it to help us beat Valencia.”