Pep Guardiola wishes he could have played in the Premier League and asked Bobby Robson for the chance to sign for Newcastle United.
The Manchester City manager was coming towards the end of his playing career at Barcelona, where Robson won three trophies in a brief spell in charge.
Guardiola has since built a reputation as one of the world's finest coaches, winning the Champions League twice at Barca, but he wishes he could have experienced playing in English football.
Speaking in new film Bobby Robson: More Than A Manager, Guardiola confirmed he was close to a Premier League move in the late 1990s, reuniting with Robson.
"I am going to explain something secret," Guardiola said. "After the purge in Barcelona, he went to Newcastle and I sent him a letter to offer me the chance to go to him and play at Newcastle.
"One of my dreams would have been to have played in England. He answered me and said it was not possible because he had a lot of quality and he was right, but, even in that tough moment, he was always so kind.
"He wrote a simple letter and it was like it meant so much more. Bobby is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life."
Remembering Sir Bobby Robson, 18/02/1933 - 31/07/2009. Gone but never forgotten. July 31, 2013
Instead of joining Newcastle, Guardiola stayed at Barcelona before spells with Brescia and Roma in Serie A, ending his playing career via periods at Qatar side Al-Ahli and Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa.
Robson followed legendary Barca boss Johan Cruyff at Camp Nou and Guardiola said it must have been hard for the Englishman to step into the role.
"I learned, when I saw him, how lonely the manager feels," Guardiola said. "And, in the bad moments, how always he had a typical smile.
"In my case, in that situation, it would have been impossible to react how he did. I know, for him, it was a tough period. I learned a lot because, in that period, I thought, 'I want to become a manager'.
"How he handled that situation was incredible. I admired him a lot. It doesn't matter what the media says or everyone pushing always try to be calm."
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