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Inside FutbolInside Futbol

06/04/2020 - 12:42 BST

Didn’t Know How Big Real Madrid Were – Former Spurs Star Gheorghe Popescu On Rejecting Spaniards


Former Tottenham Hotspur star Gheorghe Popescu has conceded that he rejected a move to Real Madrid earlier in his career as he had no idea how big the club were.

Popescu won league titles and trophies in the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey and even played a season in the Premier League with Tottenham.  


But before he joined PSV Eindhoven, the defender had a chance to join Real Madrid and he revealed that he even had a contract on his table from the Spanish giants.

The Romanian defender conceded that he had no idea then how big a club Real Madrid were and he even had talks with the club’s president, but rejected the offer from the Spanish giants.

While he admits that he was unaware of their enormity, he believes that the right decision was eventually made as he did not feel he was ready to make the jump from playing in Romania to plying his trade at one of the biggest clubs in world football.

“I had a contract on the table from them for two days but I didn’t know what Real Madrid meant then”, Popescu told The Athletic.

“I had no information because we were a communist country so I didn’t know how big they were as I hadn’t read or watched them a lot.

“[John] Toshack was the manager but I only spoke with the president. He came to meet me but I made a mistake saying no.

“I don’t regret it as I had a great career but maybe I could have spent my whole career there. Who knows?

“Maybe it was good though as, when you go from Romania to Madrid, the step can be too big. When I got to Barcelona [in 1995] I was really prepared.”

He went on to play for Real Madrid’s arch-rivals Barcelona where he won the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.