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20 Juli 2008

Madrid Almost Signed Villa

El Guaje is the envy of Europe after finishing as top scorer for Spain at Euro 2008, but his reputation went before him even before the continental tournament.

As a consistent performer for Valencia, in fact, he had attracted the attention of Real Madrid to such a great extent that the blancos were on the verge of signing him in April, it was revealed today. contends that then-vice president of Los Che, Rafael Salom, met with Real Madrid technical secretary Miguel Angel Portugal in a popular Madrid restaurant to talk transfers.

On the surface there was nothing unusual here: Salom had not made the trip specifically for this head-to-head - instead he was in town for the April 16 Copa del Rey final between Valencia and Getafe. He also had an appointment with Marcelino García Toral, then-Recreativo boss who was being groomed for the Valencia hotseat.

But, surprisingly enough, the biggest outcome of the evening was that of David Villa, with Salom proposing a sale package to Real Madrid that seemed to be a hit with the Bernabéu side. For €35m the player was theirs: alternatively they could offer €30m in addition to Esteban Granero - now of Getafe - who at the time excited Los Che greatly.

Both sides seemed to be in agreement, but Madrid decided against sealing the deal. Valencia, meanwhile, underwent massive internal turmoil, rendering their own input moot. The rest is history.

Steve Michaels,