Liverpool fans have become accustomed to Barcelona luring away their stars in recent years.
With the Reds enduring mixed fortunes on the pitch over the past decade, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Javier Mascherano have all traded Anfield for the Nou Camp.
But one former Liverpool favourite in fact turned down a move to Barcelona when the Catalan giants came calling for his services – Martin Skrtel.
The Slovakian joined Fenerbache in July 2016 when leaving the Reds after eight-and-a-half years on Merseyside.
And with the Turks struggling at the wrong end of the table this season, he could have been on the move again last month with Barcelona the surprise suitors for the 34-year-old.
With his contract expiring in the summer, many players would have jumped at the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Lionel Messi at the one of the world’s biggest clubs. Not Skrtel though, as Mithat Halis, a partner in the company that represents the defender, explains.
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“Barcelona wanted to sign him (Skrtel) and were insisting on him because they needed a central defender that was a reliable alternative, but the player didn’t agree because he did not want to be a substitute for Pique and Umtiti,” he said.
“I think he is a better centre-half than Clement Lenglet (Barcelona’s eventual defensive signing). On the other hand, Martin Skrtel is happy in Istanbul and has an important role to play in Fenerbahçe. He did not want to be third choice at Barcelona.
“They (Barça reps) saw the player in the game between Slovakia and the Ukraine and appreciated again that Skrtel is the leader of his team, but Skrtel told us he wants to continue playing in Turkey.”