Xabi Alonso has revealed that he first came to the conclusion he was ready to leave Liverpool when the club tried to sell him last summer.
The Spaniard spent five successful seasons at Anfield before leaving for Real Madrid in a £30million move this summer.
However Reds manager Rafa Benitez tried to offload the 27-year-old 12 months ago to raise money for prospective signings, in particular Gareth Barry.
At the time the former Real Sociedad ace had struggled for form, making just 16 Premier League starts in 2007/08, but an outstanding campaign last time out saw Real lodge their interest.
Despite handing in a transfer request in July, Alonso admits that he had decided to leave the club after they had tried to sell him against his wishes a year earlier.
"It was a very difficult decision for me to make," he told Sky Sports News.
"After five years I have experienced wonderful nights at Anfield, to have experienced the support of probably the best fans in the world.
"That's why I have always been very grateful and I will always have them in my mind and it has been a pleasure.
"Last summer the club proposed me that I might have to be sold to find funds for new players.
"It was a difficult decision or difficult moment to accept that. I accepted that as a professional and that moment probably changed my mind and I thought that maybe from that moment that maybe it was time for a change."
Alonso has since admitted that his relationship with Benitez deteriorated when he demanded to leave but the Spain international reveals that their relationship was always a professional one.
"There has been a lot of rumours but I have always said that it has been simply a professional relationship," he added.
"I have always tried to do what he asked to do. What he asked of me on the pitch, to do the talking on the pitch, and that's that."