Roberto Carlos has named the three English clubs he came closest to joining during his playing career.
Carlos enjoyed a hugely successful 24 years in the game after making his debut in 1991, with his retirement coming in 2015 while at Delhi Dynamos.
The Brazilian won 20 trophies at club level, with his longest and best spell coming at Real Madrid from 1996 to 2007.
The 44-year-old – a true icon of the game – moved to Real after spending one year at Inter Milan from 1995, but he admits his first move to Europe was almost to Brian Little’s Aston Villa.
“I actually came close to joining Aston Villa early in my career,” Carlos told The Sun .
“I met with the club, but nothing happened.
“Birmingham were also interested, but it didn’t go anywhere and I later joined Inter Milan.”
Villa chairman Doug Ellis was thought to have been impressed with Carlos’s performance in a friendly for Brazil against Sweden at Villa Park, but Little vetoed the signing. The club would purchase Gareth Southgate that summer instead.
Carlos never did play in England, but again came close to joining a Premier League side upon his departure from Real in 2007.
He would hold talks with Premier League champions Chelsea, but eventually joined Fenerbahce that summer.
“I met with Roman Abramovich in Paris we spoke and there were a few things we couldn’t agree on,” he said.
“It was close but, in the end, it wasn’t possible.”