Brazilian icon Kaka has admitted that interest shown in him by Manchester City back in January 2009 “messed me up”.
As a former World Player of the Year and World Cup winner, the talented playmaker was a man in high demand around that time.
City had recently been acquired by Sheikh Mansour and were busy setting about putting his injection of cash to good use.
Kaka was targeted in an ambitious move, and he concedes that mulling over a switch away from his beloved AC Milan caused him plenty of problems.
Kaka told FourFourTwo: “I was sat at home when the telephone rang – I can still remember it clearly. It was my father and he seemed nervously excited. Then he told me a team in England, Manchester City, had made Milan a huge offer for me.
“Before I could even react, he added that Milan were prepared to accept the bid. I’d had absolutely no idea that Manchester City were interested in signing me until they’d actually made their official offer to Milan.
“The process had been really different to how these things often work. City didn't talk to my father – who also acted as my agent – first. They'd gone straight to Milan and made their intention clear. Very clear in fact. They made Milan an offer for me, then sat back and asked, ‘What do you think?’
“It looked like a new, exciting challenge and a new chapter for me, but it had all come out of nowhere, and very quickly. Soon I started to feel confused and anxious. The situation messed me up.”
Kaka added on how close he came to making a move to England amid much excitement at the Etihad Stadium: “The negotiations between City and I went very far indeed. It came to the point where all of the numbers and the finer details had been discussed. The offer was on the table. The only thing separating City and I was my final word.
“The wages I had been offered were much, much higher than what I was earning with Milan. In moments like those, you begin to picture how your future will look. It’s only natural.
“I'd finally come to the conclusion that it wasn't quite the right time for me to go to City, and the main reason was the uncertainty over the squad-building process that they were about to undertake. It wasn’t clear to me how the squad would be reshaped and I wasn’t too convinced it would work.”
While he was prepared to snub City at that point, Kaka did complete a high-profile transfer in the summer of 2009 when he linked up with La Liga giants Real Madrid.
“When I finally left Milan a few months later, I went to Real Madrid to make my dream come true,” he said.
“That was one thing that had always been quite clear in my head: if I had to go to another club after Milan, it would be Real Madrid.
“But life has its own ways and at that moment the offer came from Manchester City. I guess my decision to deny City’s offer is proof that the money was never a priority in my decisions.”
Kaka never really settled in Spain, with injury struggles blighting his time at Santiago Bernabeu, and he returned to Milan in 2013.
Now 35 years of age and out of contract at MLS side Orlando City, an iconic figure of the modern era is currently weighing up his options as he considers taking on another challenge or hanging up his boots.