James Rodriguez reveals he has always harboured the ambition to play at Manchester United but turned down the chance to join them earlier in his professional career.

The Colombian star has enjoyed a highly successful career at a number of elite European sides, including the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

The attacking midfielder started his European career at Liga NOS club Porto but after establishing a reputation as one the talented prospects in world football, but took the unconventional step of choosing AS Monaco as his next club, despite significant interest from the Red Devils.

Explaining his decision Rodriguez told Rio Ferdinand’s ‘The Locker Room’: ‘Yes I think there was some kind of talk there. My manager has a great relationship with the club, his name is Jorge Mendes.

‘Well, we always dream of getting in a big club. Since I was a child I always admired Manchester, I always saw those teams with Rio together with Giggs and Scholes, there were a lot of prodigious players and I wanted to get there in that year. But it didn’t happen.

‘I thought I had to play for a club that wasn’t so big. From there I went to France just before the World Cup and my plan was to go to the World Cup have a great participation there, score goals, reach a good level and from there play for a big club and then the Real Madrid thing happened.’