Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar has revealed he came close to joining Real Madrid prior to arriving at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2012, only for the move to break down due to Real's plentiful options in his position.
At the time, Los Merengues were managed by Jose Mourinho, who has since moved to Chelsea and where Oscar has become a major part of his long-term thinking.
Per the Daily Star's David Wright, Oscar told Brazilian sports media giant Globo Esporte:
A month before signing for Chelsea I was very close to doing so with Real Madrid as Mourinho said he wanted me. They came to watch me in the game against Denmark.
Before the games there were talks with Madrid, but they had the playmaker position well covered. After the games, I signed for Chelsea.
Upon his arrival at Chelsea, Mourinho spoke to me. He gives me confidence and I'm trying to return all such support on the pitch.
Oscar's blend of technical excellence and work ethic has made him a popular figure with coaches in his career, and indeed he is seen as a central figure for both club and country in the No. 10 role.
As football shifts toward high-pressing styles and controlling space on the pitch, rather than possession, players of Oscar's ilk are becoming ever more popular.
He has begun life under Mourinho at Chelsea in excellent style, scoring four league goals in nine matches, while his Champions League performances have been of high quality.
Indeed, so trusted is the Brazilian under Mourinho that it is he—and not twice club Player of the Year Juan Mata—who has been handed the central attacking midfield berth for much of the season.
Mourinho may well wonder what might have been had the Brazilian arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu. However, with Angel di Maria and Mesut Ozil then also competing for creative roles, opportunities may well have been less forthcoming for Oscar.
There were some initial worries that, with Mata and Eden Hazard present, Oscar would encounter a similar situation at Chelsea and indeed he was eased into Premier League life initially.
However, the Brazilian's sensational Champions League debut against Juventus helped his case for inclusion and, over the course of the 2012-13 season, he became an increasingly important player for the Blues.
He may lack the sheer star quality of Brazil teammate Neymar, but it may be that Oscar proves to be an equally influential player with both club and country over the coming years.