Pep Guardiola has joked that he was not good enough to play for Wigan.
The Manchester City manager, who is preparing his side for an FA Cup fifth-round trip to the DW Stadium on Monday, held talks with the Latics towards the end of his playing career in 2005.
Wigan, then managed by Paul Jewell, were newly established in the Premier League while Guardiola was in his mid-30s and looking for a final challenge in a glittering career spent mainly with Barcelona.
No deal materialised but Guardiola, who also spoke to then City boss Stuart Pearce over a potential move to England around the same time, claims he was not up to standard.
“He tried to sign me when I was a football player, years ago,” said Guardiola, now 47, of Jewell’s attempts to lure him to Wigan. “I wasn’t good enough!
“That is the truth. I was old, really old as a football player. I knocked on the door, I tried to come here to play in English football as a player but I was not able.
“The same happened here at Manchester City when I came here with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! I was not good enough.”
As City will attest, though, Wigan did not go down quietly – sensationally beating the Eastlands club in the 2013 FA Cup final before being relegated.
They then maintained their cup grip over City as a Championship side the following year, beating them again at the quarter-final stage.
These past cup successes add spice to an intriguing tie but it would probably be an even greater shock than the previous two if City – 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League – slip up again. The winners of the tie will face Southampton in the last eight.
With the Carabao Cup final against Arsenal to come next Sunday, Guardiola will consider some rotation, but playing Claudio Bravo in place of first-choice goalkeeper Ederson is the only change he is prepared to discuss.
“Claudio is going to play,” Guardiola said. “We are in the Carabao Cup final thanks to him. I cannot forget what happened: he saved two rounds of penalties and the way he played.
“It all depends on the performance and the quality but in this competition Claudio is going to play.
“In the top clubs you need two good goalkeepers, you cannot survive with just one – (what) if he is injured or suspended and the second one doesn’t have the level?
“All the big clubs who play a lot of competitions have two good goalkeepers and we have that.”