Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has confirmed that he decided to leave Anfield a year before he eventually headed home to Spain to join Real Madrid.
The 27-year-old looked set to leave the Reds 12 months ago as they sought funds to buy England midfielder Gareth Barry and the Spain international decided at that point that he would like to move on.
He told Sky Sports News: "It was a very difficult decision for me to make.
"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 and a difficult moment to accept that.
"I accepted that as a professional and that moment probably changed my mind and I thought that from that moment that maybe it was time for a change."