Current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho claims he had to beg Real Madrid to let him leave in 2013.
Mourinho’s three-year spell at Madrid came to an end in May 2013 despite still having three years left on his contract.
He returned to Chelsea for a second time before joining United in the 2016/17 season.
When asked what the hardest part of rebuilding United is, he said: “The hardest part in my opinion was the period where there was an evolution in football overall, in terms of every other team, not just the typical powerful teams, but all the others. Their evolution in relation to the changes in football allowed them also to be economically strong.
“At the same time there was an evolution and Man United did not follow that evolution and my work is not just about arriving at a football team and developing the football team to attack, football targets and objectives, it was more than that.
“It was to go into the structure and to try to adapt the structure around the football team to a new dynamic. And that was the same at Real Madrid, a big club with big expectations but a difficult period with the evolution of other teams and the distance between Real Madrid and Barcelona growing bigger and bigger and bigger.
“When I arrived it was not just about developing a football team to try to stop that domination, but to also develop everything around the team and in that respect I can see similarities in terms of the difficulties and similarities in terms of the dimension of my job.
“I think what we did last season, Europa League, League Cup, sixth in the Premier League is what gets into your eyes. But I know that my job was much more than just the success in some competitions and being unsuccessful in the Premier League.
“To be honest, with the club [Madrid]’s structure, they wanted me to stay, they didn’t want me to leave. Everybody in the club, president, CEO, the board, myself, we all felt after the years I was there that the difficult part of the job was done and they wanted me to stay.
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“In fact, I almost had to beg to let them let me go. I don’t think that at United is going to happen, because I don’t want to go.
“Real Madrid, for me, was really something that I wanted to do. It was something I had a chance to do twice before and didn’t. And on the third time, I don’t think you can say ‘no’ three times to such a club. I wanted to go and win the title in Spain, but it was not for me to stay. I was not in love with my life there. I wanted to come back to England and in that case, to Chelsea.”