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Santa Cruz could have joined Real Madrid

9 March 2012 11:45

Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz has revealed he had the chance to join Real Madrid before he signed with Bayern Munich in 1999.

The Paraguay international is on loan at Real Betis from City and is set to face Real Madrid in La Liga this weekend.

But the 30-year-old said he could easily have been lining up for Madrid had he not elected to leave his former Paraguayan club Olimpia for Bayern back in 1999.

"Yes, I could have gone (to Madrid)," the striker told ABCdeSevilla. "There was some interest, but that is one for the story book."

"It was before going to Bayern Munich. They (Madrid) talked to Olympia but it did not happen."

Santa Cruz is looking forward to testing himself against Jose Mourinho's star-studded Madrid line-up in Seville on Saturday, but he is concerned by the prospect of how his team will combat Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored 30 goals in 25 La Liga appearances so far this season.

"His numbers speak for themselves," Santa Cruz said. "He has scored a lot of goals this season, he is great on the counterattack and works for the group - he is a very complete player."

"I would remove him (from the Madrid line-up) if I was given the opportunity," he joked.

Despite Ronaldo's brilliance, Santa Cruz said if he had to choose one player in the world to play alongside, it would be Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

"(Messi and Ronaldo) go hand in hand; they are the two best players in the world by far," he said.

"A stunning display from one player at the weekend, and the next weekend, the other. What they are both doing is amazing, but I would choose Messi (over Ronaldo)."

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