Real Madrid was close on two occasions (in 2005 and 2009) to signing Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who played 710 games for the Reds before leaving for his swan song in the MLS with LA Galaxy in 2015.
The first time Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez had Gerrard on his radar was in 2004, when the club was looking for a midfield anchorman to come on board for the 2005-06 season. At the time Gerrard was already captain at Anfield at tender age of 24. Responding to reports in the British press about his rumoured departure, Gerrard took to the club's official website to brand the stories as "rubbish".
Gerrard was tempted by Real Madrid's offer
In May, 2005, Real made an offer of 30 million euros. But the offer was rejected by Liverpool, who wanted 45 million euros, plus De la Red, Arbeloa and Javí García, in exchange for their captain. Gerrard, who was holidaying in Ibiza, waited patiently as the tense negotiations between the clubs played out. On July 1, he met with then-manager Rafa Benítez to tell him that he was tempted by Madrid's offer. Four days later on July 5, Liverpool released a statement that said that they had made an offer to keep him at Anfield, but Gerrard was not going to accept the offer because his desire was to leave the club.
Gerrard went on to tell UK broadcaster Sky that: "The last six weeks have been the hardest of my life". However, the situation took an unexpected turn and just four days later, the midfielder renewed his contract with the Reds until 2009.
Xabi Alonso but no Gerrard
In 2009, Florentino Peréz returned for his second stint as president. At the time, Gerrard was 29 and had played in Liverpool's 4-0 win over 'Los Blancos' at Anfield in the quarter finals of the Champions League a few months prior. That summer, Gerrard's midfield partner Xabi Alonso left Liverpool to sign for Real. But despite stories once again linking Gerrard with a move to the Bernabeu, nothing materialized and the player stayed put in his native Liverpool until his move to the U.S. in 2015, before hanging up his boots from the game in 2016.