Jose Mourinho lifts lid on Shinji Kagawa pursuit at Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho reveals that Shinji Kagawa turned down the chance to join Real Madrid in favour of a move to Manchester United

shinji kagawa
Shinji Kagawa joined Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund Photo: Back Page Images

Jose Mourinho says Shinji Kagawa turned down the chance to join Real Madrid in favour of a move to Manchester United because he was promised regular first-team football at Old Trafford.

Mourinho held talks with Kagawa’s agent in 2012 but the Japan international opted to join the Red Devils after the Portuguese coach made it clear that he would be an understudy to Mesut Ozil at the Bernabeu.

“We were looking for a player to be behind Mesut Ozil,” said Mourinho, who spent three seasons in charge of Real Madrid before returning to Chelsea this summer.

“Of course [he is] a good player because in Real Madrid you cannot have bad players – you look always to good players even if you don’t want them to be first choice.

“I spoke with his agent and told him we’d be interested but he decided not to come because he wanted to play every weekend.

“We were honest with him by saying that Ozil was our first choice. This is a thing that happens a lot – when you are honest, you make the player make the best decision for his career.”

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