Hertha midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng says he nearly joined Manchester United from AC Milan in 2013 but opted to join Schalke instead.
The 34-year-old joined the Bundesliga club in August of that year on a deal through to the summer of 2017, though his contract was cancelled just two-and-a-half years later.
Boateng has now revealed how he turned down the chance to move to Old Trafford, which could potentially have put his career on a very different path.
Boateng struggled to find his best form in Germany and was suspended at the end of the 2014-15 season, with the club citing a “lack of mutual trust” and informing Boateng he could find a new club.
His contract was eventually terminated early in December 2015, freeing him up to re-join Milan on a short-term deal the following month.
The Ghana international has now hinted that he regrets choosing a move to Schalke over the Red Devils, adding that it was his two spells with Milan that saw him develop as a player.
“I had the opportunity to move to Manchester United. I chose Germany – you saw what happened to me at Schalke,” he told Hertha’s website.
“At some point I became intelligent. It started with Milan. I played with world stars and learned something from everyone.”
- Boateng’s Berlin regret
After his short spell back at Milan came to an end, Boateng went on to play for seven more clubs, including Las Palmas, Fiorentina and Barcelona, before returning to first club Hertha last summer.
The midfielder, who represented Germany’s youth sides before playing for Ghana at senior level, broke into the Hertha first team as a teenager in 2005 before moving to Tottenham at the age of 20 two years later.
He struggled to make an impact in north London, making just 25 appearances and spending some time out on loan at Borussia Dortmund before joining Portsmouth in August 2009.
Reflecting on his early career, Boateng says he was maybe too hasty in leaving Hertha and that it cost him the chance to play for the senior Germany team.
“I was 20 years old, a regular – it was all good. I was at home, my family was here,” he said.
“I should have stayed here for another two or three years, then maybe I would have become a German national player.”