Gareth Bale was almost the first signing David Moyes made when he became manager of Manchester United in 2013, the Scotsman has revealed.
The former Everton boss succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in 2013 after being reportedly hand-picked by his fellow countrymen.
Despite a stellar record at Goodison Park however, Moyes failed to acclimatise to life at the Theatre of Dreams and despite winning the Charity Shield, was sacked after just 10 months in the hotseat.
“I wanted him to be my first signing at Manchester United,” Moyes stated.
“We came close, spoke to him, but he had his heart set on Real Madrid and we couldn't talk him out of it.
“It was a real disappointment because I saw him as a Manchester United type player.
“He carries himself well, I think he's a terrific player. He can play wide, we can play as a striker now that he's developed that.
“I just think all round he's a terrific athlete and a brilliant footballer so I think that he would have fitted what we wanted but I couldn't talk him out of it.”
Both have gone on to mixed careers since, with Moyes having most recently managed at West Ham following spells with Real Sociedad and Sunderland.
Bale, meanwhile, has lifted the Liga title with Madrid as well as four Champions League trophies, though he was unable to prevent Los Blancos seeing their 1,011-day reign as holders crash to an end on Tuesday with a humiliating defeat against Ajax.
He has scored 101 goals in 218 appearances for the club.
Moyes’ comments come as speculation mounts that Bale will be shown the door at the end of the season at Santiago Bernabeu, with a Premier League return looking to be the most likely option for the 29-year-old.