Zinedine Zidane has admitted he tried to get Real Madrid to sign Steven Gerrard twice but the Liverpool skipper did not want to leave his hometown club.
The Spanish giants made two approaches for Gerrard back in 2004 but the midfielder, who will sign for an MLS club this summer, could not be prized away from Merseyside.
“I have said in the past that at his peak he was the best in the world," said Zidane.
“I think it was the summer of 2004 I was having a conversation with Florentino (Perez) and I told him I wanted him to partner me in midfield for Madrid.
“I know the club tried twice but he wouldn’t leave Liverpool. Not many players turn down Real Madrid but I think that tells you a lot about the loyalty of the man.”
Zidane insists that Gerrad still has plenty to offer on the pitch and is amazed that he does not have a Premier League medal to his name.
“It is incredible he has never won a league title but he has had success with Liverpool," continued Zidane. "The years of him winning trophies are not behind him. I am sure he will be very successful in the MLS.”
Gerrard has admitted in the past that Real wanted to sign him but he always remained loyal to Liverpool.
“It’s very flattering to be linked to a huge club like Real Madrid," he said before the sides met in the Champions League in September.
“I’ve had a couple of options throughout my career to go to Real Madrid but I resisted temptation because of the big connection I have to my home town club in Liverpool.
“It may be something I regret further down the line for not challenging myself and having a change of scenery in a different country but I’d have had an even bigger regret to leave the club I love.
“I’m a big fan of Real Madrid. They are a special club. But for me, Liverpool is my number one club.”
The largest photograph hanging on the wall of the manager's office at Melwood was of Steven Gerrard fighting almost manically for possession in the Merseyside derby. The Liverpool midfielder was contesting a loose ball with an Evertonian adversary and there was only one winner: Gerrard.