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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has lifted the lid on the Spanish champions' failed pursuit of Manchester City signing Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.
Perhaps one of football’s worst kept secrets in recent months is that Erling Haaland’s signature has been a tug-of-war between Manchester City and Real Madrid.
While murmurs suggesting the Norway international’s preference was to make a sensational switch to the Santiago Bernabeu, a sporting project guaranteeing sustained success offered by the club Haaland supported growing up is what ultimately swayed the forward to choose a move to the Etihad Stadium.
Additionally, it was heavily speculated that Pep Guardiola was a major drawing factor for the 21-year-old marksman - an attractive prospect for one of the deadliest young finishers in world football to have the opportunity to develop further under the Catalan's stewardship.
As for the eventual champions of Europe, the bad news was Real Madrid failed to land long-time target Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain - as well as Erling Haaland - as it seemed a signature Galactico's summer written in the stars at one point of time.
“The (Kylian) Mbappe deal did not create any problems with the (Erling) Haaland deal, absolutely," Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said in an appearance on popular Spanish television program El Chiringuito de Jugones, as translated and relayed by the Mirror.
"We have (Karim) Benzema, so it was impossible to have him (Haaland) with Karim. We cannot sign Haaland to stay on the bench. Haaland is an amazing, fantastic player."
Perez further suggested he remains unsure whether the Premier League champions entered a release clause into the striker's five-year contract, as he added: “I don’t know if Erling Haaland has a release clause into his contract with Manchester City.”
It is key to note that amid Manchester City’s long-drawn pursuit of Tottenham's Harry Kane last summer, the club had the option of getting a foot ahead of their competitors if the decision-makers took the audacious call of shelling a record-breaking fee for Haaland.
Instead, the English champions persisted by not paying over the odds for either and entrusted Guardiola’s false-nine system for the previous season before wrapping up the Norwegian superstar’s signing for a staggeringly modest £51 million.
While Real Madrid have their justifications on why their chase for Erling Haaland was not meant to be, it is impossible to run away from the fact that Manchester City’s unrivalled business and sporting acumen meant they won the race to sign arguably the most sought-after player in world football alongside Kylian Mbappe.
Featured Image Credit: Xinhua / Alamy