Welsh winger Gareth Bale says that he snubbed Manchester United for Real Madrid to play alongside Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Following his excellent run of form with Tottenham Hotspur in the 2012/13 season, where he netted 21 goals from 33 appearances in the Premier League, the 25-year-old winger was pursued by a lot of big clubs including Manchester United.
However, finally, he ended up moving to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee of €100 million (£85.3 million).
And now Bale admits that the opportunity to play alongside Ronaldo was one of the main reasons behind him choosing Real Madrid over Manchester United.
"It's another reason why I came to Madrid - to learn from the best players," Bale was quoted by the Express as saying.
"Seeing Ronaldo in training every day, how concentrated he is on every aspect of his game and on the pitch, it gives me that kind of platform to aim for and keep improving, and hopefully one day I can get there."
The former Southampton defender (who later became a winger at Tottenham Hotspur), is certain that Ronaldo will again win the Ballon d'Or due to his superb form in the 2013/14 campaign as well as this season.
"I think Cristiano has been amazing this season. The amount of goals he's scored, he won the Champions League with us, and he's been playing fantastic," added Bale.
"I can't see many people past him [for the Ballon d'Or] but I'm looking forward to seeing who wins and good luck to everybody. At the moment Ronaldo's on another level to everyone else. If you don't want to be the world's best you probably shouldn't be playing football."
Meanwhile, Ronaldo feels that he is currently in the best form of his career following his excellent start to the 2014/15 season.
The 29-year-old winger has already amassed a tally of 23 goals from 17 appearances in all competitions this season, helping the Los Blancos displace Barcelona at the top of the La Liga, and book a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
And the former Manchester United man, who was recently awarded the Marca's Pichichi award (top goalscorer in the La Liga) and the Alfredo Di Stefano award ( best player in Spain) for his excellent performances last season, feels that he is currently enjoying the best form of his career.
"Perhaps this is the best form I've ever been in but every year I try to improve on the previous one," Goal quoted Ronaldo as saying. "I want to keep learning and working hard in the same way I have been doing up until now."