Ivan Perisic has confirmed he turned down the chance to move to Manchester United in 2017 to remain with Inter Milan.
The winger was convinced to stay at the San Siro by incoming Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti, despite strong overtures from Jose Mourinho.
Perisic went on to score 11 goals in 39 games for the Italian side, before strarring for Croatia at the World Cup with goals in the semi-final and final.
Getty Images – Getty2 Ivan Perisic was on the brink of joining Manchester United but opted to stay at Inter
More Manchester United Newsdave stays Neville says Utd have lost bargaining power and strength after De Gea extension Exclusivewrithing in agony Sanchez’s scream after horror hamstring tear left team-mates in shock BARKING MAD Alexis Sanchez has two identical pictures with his dogs and no-one knows why man utd news Mourinho's dig at De Gea, Dalot fit to face Saints and Sanchez injury reaction easy rider Jose Mourinho insists other managers get easier ride in England than him ExclusiveWAITING GAME Jose Mourinho refusing to tell stars if they are starting after Utd mole leak preview Southampton vs Manchester United: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and teams POWER NO MOUR Jose Mourinho admits United no longer have power to dominate English football RevealedDio-go get 'em Diogo Dalot fit to face Southampton, reveals Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho no diego Fellaini is no Maradona says Mourinho but is finally getting credit he deserves ExclusiveZLAT PREM SNUB Zlatan Ibrahimovic snubbed Man City move before he joined Manchester United
Perisic told FourFourTwo: “When Luciano Spalletti arrived [in June 2017], he showed tremendous desire to keep me in the team and made it clear he didn’t want to lose me. That was very encouraging, and I haven’t regretted my decision to stay at Inter. In football, small details in these situations are key.
“Admiration from a coach like Mourinho is definitely something that flattered me. It’s confirmation of hard work and good performances.
'When you’re praised by a guy like Mourinho – the manager of a huge club like Man United – it’s difficult not to think about such an offer. I’m glad he has a high opinion of me.
"These things motivate me to work and train hard, to achieve the best performances.”
Getty Images – Getty2 Perisic praised Jose Mourinho and insisted he was open to a move in future
Most read in footballFlamin Nora Meet Nora Segura, the stunning 'hippie' lingerie model who is Tim Howard's Wag ExclusiveDAVE KITSON Pulis hated Wenger, we were out of control… no wonder Ramsey's leg broke Picturedbench im-press Olivier Giroud and Cesc Fabregas show off ridiculous six-packs in the gym ExclusiveZLAT PREM SNUB Zlatan Ibrahimovic snubbed Man City move before he joined Manchester United plane sailing Man United players jet to Southampton… after Man City plane delays take off Exclusivewrithing in agony Sanchez’s scream after horror hamstring tear left team-mates in shock DID YOU SEE THAT? Watch the mad Europa League mix-up that has over a million views ExclusiveOOH, AH Eric Cantona wins £780k lawsuit against New York Cosmos after sacking over 'fight' Merse and worse Merson puts just two Arsenal players in Spurs combined XI angering fans ExclusiveKarren Brady Raheem Sterling only outdone by Hazard but on the way to George Best levels
Despite turning down the chance in 2017, Perisic, 29, admitted he is open to a move to the Premier League later in his career.
Inter are said to be open to the idea of letting their star leave for the right price.
“In football, you never say never,” he says. “From the beginning of my career, I’ve had the ambition to play in as many big leagues as possible, and I still have that desire to test myself in other leagues. And I mean in the Spanish or English leagues.
“I hope Inter fans understand my point of view. I’m an athlete and a professional, I like challenges and this is my driving force. What the future will bring, I don’t know. Now I’m focused on Inter, as we try to make a bigger step forward from last season.”