Former Super Eagles winger Finidi George has revealed the reason why his transfer from AJax to Real Madrid fell through in 1996.
After helping Ajax to back-to-back Champions League finals in 1995 and 1996, Finidi George caught the attention of the biggest European clubs including Real Madrid.
Fabio Capelo who was Madrid manager at the time was particularly interested in signing the Nigerian having watched him tormented his Ac Milan side in the 1995 Champions League final.
Speaking in an interview with ACLSports, Finidi George confirmed that he had agreed personal terms with Real Madrid and was in touch with Fabio Capello who was desperate to add him but the only issue was the transfer fee.
Finidi George said Real Madrid couldn’t afford the $4million asking price, hence Ajax had to sell him to Real Betis who met Ajax asking price.
“Ajax told Real Madrid if they cannot pay the transfer fee ($4million) within the date stipulated I am free to go where I want to go. That didn’t happen, they couldn’t reach an agreement with Ajax,” Finidi said.
“The league was about to start, we were suppose to comeback after holidays and I got another offer from (Real) Betis. They were willing to pay Ajax the transfer fee and pay me what I wanted and I felt it was time for me to leave.”
The 49-year-old added: “Madrid could not meet the transfer fee because they’d already bought a lot of players that summer (1996). Roberto Carlos, (Clarence) Seedorf, (Pedrag) Mejatovic, (Davor) Suker, (Fernando) Redondo, I think they bought five, six players.
“And I spoke with (Fabio) Capello and he said he wanted me in his team and I said okay. We spoke and had pre-contract and based on what they do with Ajax if it’s going to be valid or not.
“We reached an agreement and personal terms it was okay better than I had with Betis, but the only problem was they couldn’t reach an agreement with Ajax.”