Real Madrid rejected the chance to sign David Silva in 2010 due to concerns about the midfielder’s party lifestyle off the pitch.
Silva has established himself as one of Manchester City’s most important players since his arrival and last weekend featured in his 400th match for the club during a routine 3-1 win away at Bournemouth.
However, the Athletic understand his transfer to City may never have materialised had Real Madrid not backed out of a move first. Florentino Perez was concerned over the player’s heavy drinking and party lifestyle and pulled the plug on a £30m deal for the former Valencia midfield.
The Real Madrid chief was wowed by the then 24-year-old’s talents during the 2009-10 season and seemed determined to poach him from their La Liga rivals that summer. Speaking to a colleague after a match against Valencia that season, Perez said: “Take the suitcase to the locker room, because next year David will be with us.”
He ordered a full report on the player to be compiled but was subsequently concerned that Silva behaved without the “required dignity” to represent Los Blancos and called the whole thing off.
The Spaniard transferred to City instead and has gone on to help the club win 12 major honours, including four Premier League titles. The claims about Silva’s then alleged heavy drinking and unsavoury antics off the field have never been substantiated.
The 33-year-old playmaker has always been something of a role model at the club and has become an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s all conquering champions, making Perez concerns all the more bizarre.
He has featured in each of City’s three matches in the league so far this season after announcing in the summer that this campaign would be his last for the club.