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Claude Makelele joined Chelsea from Real Madrid in 2003 for £16million and was an important player for the Blues.
Makelele was a key player for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and he helped the Blues win the Premier League and FA Cup in Mourinho’s first season in charge. Makelele’s importance was recognised by Mourinho, who declared him Chelsea’s “Player of the Year” after our league triumph in 2005.
He won three more titles with Chelsea, including a Premier League title, before he left Chelsea for Paris Saint-Germain in 2008.
The Frenchman has now revealed why he dumped Real Madrid for Chelsea in 2003.
Speaking on Stadium Astro via Daily Star, the 46-year-old said: “During this time I had two years left on my contract , after we won our first La Liga title [2000/01].
“Afterwards, the club president [Florentino Lopez] said to me ‘maybe we’ll renew your contact for another year’. I said it would be my pleasure.
“He said ‘it won’t be what we give [Zinedine] Zidane’ but I didn’t care.
“I shook his hand at every single game. I spoke to the President and said ‘when I come back, I’ll sign my contract’.
“‘Yes, no problem’, he replied.”
But it was a different story in the summer of 2003.
Makelele added: “The club then signed [David] Beckham and even more of the ‘Galacticos’.
“When we came back, I got my manager to see the President for my new contract. But he said there was no money left after signing Beckham.”
Makelele then saw then Real Madrid manager Vincente Del Bosque, who fought the midfielder’s corner – but he received a brutal response from sporting director Jorge Valdano.
“He came to talk to me a little too aggressively,” Makelele continued. “‘What are you thinking? You should be playing at Real Madrid for free’.
“He said ‘if you want to move, find us a team that will pay 15m Euros for you’.
“Five teams made big offers – I didn’t want any problems.”
The Frenchman, though, reached his breaking point with Madrid.
“But Real denied any offers, so I went to the manager,” Makelele said. “I said ‘I’ve got a problem now. I don’t want to play here anymore – the club doesn’t respect me’.
“I wanted my team-mates to know the story because I was going to fight the club.”