Atletico star: I could've joined Barca, Xavi called me

Alvaro Morata , Saul Niguez and Jose Maria Gimenez of Atletico Madrid
Alvaro Morata , Saul Niguez and Jose Maria Gimenez of Atletico Madrid

An Atletico Madrid star has revealed that he could have joined FC Barcelona in the past two transfer windows, and even received a call from manager Xavi Hernandez to do so. 

While selling a player to a direct rival is often discouraged in many top leagues, especially in Spain and England, some deals in such circumstance do not necessarily evoke negative reactions from supporters.

Read: Spain veteran set to leave Barca, next club revealed?

While any star moving from Barca to Real Madrid or vice versa is sure to cause controversy, those either joining or departing the Catalan outfit for Atletico do not ruffle feathers, with those transfers seemingly acceptable to fans of the respective teams.

Over the years, the Rojiblancos and the Blaugrana have traded a number of footballers, including David Villa, Arda Turan, Luis Suarez, and more recently Antoine Griezmann in a loan deal.

It has now emerged that the two clubs could once again have done some business with each other in the most recent windows, with Atleti striker Alvaro Morata revealing he received an offer from the Camp Nou outfit back in January when he was on loan at Juventus, and during the off-season in the recent window.

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"There were options to go to Barca," the Spain forward said, according to Spanish publication Sport.

"I went to speak with [coach Massimiliano] Allegri and he told me I wasn't going anywhere, that he wanted me to play with [Dusan] Vlahovic.

"I had another four or five offers, all of them really good, but in the end Atletico had the final word.

"Xavi called me and spoke about football. It's an honour that a coach like Xavi has you in mind. [He was convincing], even more when he is someone you have seen play since you were little and seen around Las Rozas."

Read: Rudiger: I've never experienced anything like what Ancelotti did for me

Had the move materialised, Morata would have joined an exclusive list of players who have represented all three Spanish giants, a feat that has only been achieved by two footballers to date, Bernd Schuster and Miguel Soler, per Futbol Retro.

The well-travelled striker was also linked with Manchester United last month, along with his current teammate Griezmann and PSV Eindhoven talisman Cody Gakpo.

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