Gareth Bale rejected a move to Manchester United after having his heart set on a switch to Real Madrid, according to ex-Old Trafford boss David Moyes.
The Wales international moved to Real for a world record £85m from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2013, but not before Moyes launched a bid for the 25-year-old in the early months of his tenure at United.
Failure to sign Bale was one of several transfer deals which Moyes was unable to clinch and contributed to his sacking just eight months into a six-year deal.
"Firstly, Gareth Bale is an outstanding player," the Real Sociedad boss told Sky Sports. "I was desperate to take him to Manchester United from Tottenham, but couldn't quite get him. He had his heart set on going to Real Madrid. He was very much on my radar as soon as I went to United.
"He can score goals, can make goals, he's got speed, he's physically capable, and I think next year he will be a big star in Madrid."
After a trophy-laden first season at Real, Bale's form has tailed off during his second year in the Spanish capital, with many supporters using him as a scapegoat for the club's failure to win silverware in the 2014/15 campaign.
Reports have suggested that Bale could return to the Premier League this summer, with United among the contenders for his signature, but Moyes wants to see him given time to prove his worth.
"It is down to settling in," Moyes added. "David de Gea took time to settle at Manchester United, it is not easy. We have to give him time, Bale is no different to anyone else.
"As a British player playing abroad, you have to get involved, immerse yourself in the culture. You have to get used to the living times, the eating habits. He is at a great club that will give him opportunity to succeed and I think he will."