Real Madrid remarkably turned down the chance to sign Philippe Coutinho for just €2.5million (£2m), it has been revealed.
The Brazilian, who is edging closer to a stunning £130m move to Barcelona, was scouted by Los Blancos in 2008.
Former Real Madrid technical director Miguel Angel Portugal made the extraordinary revelation in his blog, via Marca.
The ex-Los Blancos midfielder mentions that he went out to Brazil to watch the Liverpool ace play, and had even discussed the transfer with Coutinho's parents.Read More
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However, a move for Coutinho broke down when former Real president Ramon Calderon opted for another Brazilian.
"Coutinho had already marvelled with Vasco de Gama and was a name who had been mentioned at the club," reveals Portugal.
"All of the reports about him were favourable and looked promising to sign him and the decision was made to bring him to Real Madrid.
"I personally went to Rio de Janeiro to watch him train and play, to talk with his parents and, of course, hold a meeting about joining our club.
"Everything was going well and everything was perfect and it seemed that things were going to work out for everyone, but when I returned from Brazil I found a surprise waiting for me.
"The president Ramon Calderon told me that we had signed Alipio, a 16-year-old who they had watched with Rio Ave and who the scouts found to be a very interesting player.
"For essentially the same price that Real paid for Alipio [€2.5m], they could have signed his compatriot instead.
"It is incredible but true."
Inter Milan snapped up Coutinho before selling him to Liverpool for £8.5m five years later.
Alipio, meanwhile, was let go by Real Madrid after just two years having never made a first team appearance.
After a series of failed spells at different clubs, including Benfica, the 25-year-old now plies his trade at Brazil side Vila Nova.
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