Claude Makelele reveals he snubbed Man Utd transfer before becoming Chelsea legend following Real Madrid exit
CHELSEA legend Claude Makelele snubbed a move to Manchester United before joining the Blues in 2003.
Makelele was one of the first signings of Roman Abramovich's Chelsea revolution that summer, sealing a £16.8million move from Real Madrid after handing in a transfer request at the Bernabeu.
The former France midfielder has revealed Manchester United were also interested in his signature ahead of the 2003-04 season, but he had already pledged his future to Chelsea.
Makelele told FourFourTwo: "I had seen how things were going at Real Madrid.
"I told Chelsea that 'if I leave, I'll go there'. I made them a promise.
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"They did everything possible to sign me. I was 30 at the time, but they still paid a significant transfer fee.
"I went to Chelsea because they came to me first. Other teams like Inter and Manchester United approached me, and they had shown interest before I went to Madrid."
Makelele enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Stamford Bridge, winning two Premier League titles and three domestic cups in five years at the club.
However, the Frenchman failed to help the London outfit win their maiden Champions League title before departing in 2008.
Makelele said: "It's not my biggest pain, because I had already won the Champions League with Real Madrid.
"I don't know if that Chelsea were the best team to not win it, but we were brilliant.
"In my five seasons there, we reached the semi-finals four times and the final in 2008.
"Not many clubs could achieve that, a lot of clubs spend billions trying to do it.
"Chelsea built that team very quickly and, in addition to coming very close in the Champions League, we won everything in England for a few years.
"It usually takes time to build a spirit like we did.
"I remember playing cards while getting ready for games, relaxing and laughing.
"We had a good atmosphere in the team and no club in the world wanted to play against us."
Makelele returned to Chelsea in 2019 to become a youth coach and technical mentor at the club.
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