Lassana Diarra has confirmed Manchester City were interested in securing his services before he agreed to sign for Real Madrid.
The midfielder passed a medical with Real on Monday ahead of his transfer from Portsmouth.
City boss Mark Hughes previously admitted he was interested in signing the Frenchman and the 23-year-old has confirmed the offer.
He told L’Equipe: “Were Manchester City keen to sign me? Yes, indeed.
“On a financial level, I would have earned a lot more. I love the Premier League, but Real are very attractive. I believe I have earned respect.”
The former Chelsea and Arsenal player revealed it was a wrench to leave England but admitted he was unable to resist the lure of Madrid.
He said: “I was in England for five years, and I have learnt a lot of things there. I became very attached to the Premier League.
“You can’t leave it that easily. But Real came, and I was their priority. That makes you think. It is an honour.
“Portsmouth have some trouble. The club is to sell. I also read a lot of rubbish during the last days. I read I disappeared for three days. That is not true. I was in training.”